Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 15, 2018

Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, aweiss@biologicaldiversity.org

Oregon Wolf OR-7's Pack Produces Pups for Fifth Consecutive Year

Pack's Expansion Highlights Critical Ongoing Federal Protections for Wolves

PORTLAND, Ore.— Wildlife officials announced late Tuesday that Oregon wolf OR-7 has sired a fifth litter of pups in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest, just north of the California border.

Video of this year’s pups — three gray-colored youngsters playing in the forest — was captured on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trail camera in early July and just released by the federal agency.

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, after returning to Oregon, OR-7 mated with another wolf and had pups, officially forming the Rogue pack.

Each year since then, the pair has successfully reproduced. At least three of their offspring have also traveled into California. They include one that became the breeding male of California’s only known existing pack, the Lassen pack, and two females including one whose recent travels had her almost reaching Lake Tahoe.

“We’re delighted OR-7 is on his fifth successful litter of healthy, bouncing wolf puppies,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at 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 California and across the United States.”

OR-7, so 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 the past year, two additional wolves have been confirmed traveling together in part of Mt. Hood National Forest in Wasco County.

Despite the gains, the state’s historic persecution of wolves continues. They once roamed statewide but were killed off to appease agricultural interests. Now, in southwestern Oregon in just the past few years, several wolves have been confirmed to have met tragic fates.

The Silver Lake pack briefly established territory in Lake County but disappeared after the breeding female was illegally killed in 2016. In 2017 two additional wolves were found illegally killed in neighboring Klamath County.

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, in the northeastern part of the state, and a year later OR-7 was born into that pack’s second litter.

Oregon’s wolf population has increased 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 124 wolves have been observed there, and the state fish and wildlife commission stripped wolves of state protections in 2015.

Recently the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it may propose stripping wolves of federal endangered species act protection across most of the lower 48 states, including Oregon, Washington and California, where wolf recovery is in its infancy.

“Wolves started recovering in West Coast states only because they were protected, but once state protections were removed in Oregon, incidents of illegal wolf killing greatly increased,” said Weiss. “With the Fish and Wildlife Service poised to remove federal safeguards for wolves, we could see a tremendous setback for further recovery, and OR-7’s wondrous legacy could come to an end.”

OR-7 pup

Rogue pack pup. Image courtesy USFWS.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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