For Immediate Release, July 7, 2015
Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Second Year in a Row, Wolf OR-7's Pack Produces Pups
Oregon Pack's Expansion Highlights Importance of Ongoing Federal, State Protections for Wolves
PORTLAND, Ore.— Wildlife officials announced today that Oregon wolf OR-7 has sired a second litter of pups in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest, just north of the California border. While the new pups have not yet been seen, wildlife biologists say their discovery of pup scat in the area confirms that OR-7’s pack has a new litter.
OR-7 made international headlines when he traveled across Oregon and entered California in late 2011, becoming the first confirmed wild wolf in the Golden State in 87 years. Three years later he mated with another wolf, resulting in the birth of at least three pups. A remote camera captured a series of images of these now-yearling youngsters playing in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on June 24.
“This second litter of pups highlights just how much potential there is for wolf recovery in the West,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “OR-7 traveled 4,000 miles to find a mate and start a family. But this important recovery can only continue if we keep protecting wolves in Oregon and across the United States.”
OR-7, named by wildlife biologists because he was the seventh wolf captured and radio-collared in Oregon, established the first wolf pack in western Oregon in more than 60 years. In addition to OR-7's pack, dubbed the Rogue pack, state and federal biologists believe that two more wolves, captured on a trail camera in January, may be establishing an additional pack farther south, closer to the California border.
Wolves were once widely distributed throughout Oregon but were eradicated by a government-sponsored effort on behalf of livestock operators. In 1999 wolves from Idaho began to make their way into Oregon but the first several wolves that entered the state were returned to Idaho, struck by vehicles or illegally shot.
It was not until 2008 that Oregon’s first pack was confirmed, and a year later OR-7 was born into that pack’s second litter. Oregon’s wolf population has been increasing but is still significantly lower than what the state can support.
A scientific analysis determined that Oregon can support as many as 1,400 wolves. Just 77 wolves have been observed in the state, but the state fish and wildlife commission is now considering stripping wolves of state protections. A public comment period on state delisting is likely to be held later this year. A pending federal proposal would strip wolves of federal endangered species act protections across most of the lower 48 states, including in Oregon.
“Wolves have started recovering in Oregon only because they’re legally protected, but critical state protections are now in peril,” said Weiss. “The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering removing state safeguards for wolves, which would be a tremendous setback for further recovery.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.