STATES CHRONICLE – It has been a long time, but the missing wolf in Oregon makes a comeback after 4 years of being thought dead. The department of Fish and Wildlife in the state had long since renounced their hope of finding the canine a while ago. However, it recently made a surprise appearance.
The first Oregon pack was detected in 2008, and designated for research purpose. The aim was to bolster the wolf population in the state, which has seen a dramatic decrease. The state was thought to have a number of 85 wolves, but the numbers have dropped recently to 83 after a pair was found dead at Sled Springs in August.
Biologists long expected the wolf pack to spread across the state after they were released as part of national recovery program.
Wolf program coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Russ Morgan, however, has estimated that there are currently between 90 to 100 wolves in Oregon. The numbers are still considered low, but improving. Especially with a find long thought dead.
OR-3, as designated, was a radio-collared wolf that has not been seen since 2011. The 7-year old male dispersed from the Imnaha pack in May 2011, then last was spotted in September of that year, near Prineville. Ever since then, there has been nothing but silence from its collar. It seems that OR-3 took a similar course to the famous wandering wolf of Oregon, OR-7.
However, much more is known about the latter. While OR-7 roamed Northern California and then returned to southwest Oregon, it’s been found that he has since paired up with a female of his kind and produced pups. This has been one of the hints biologists have received that the wolf population may be recovering.
OR-3 though, has remained a bit of a mystery until it was spotted again this year. The wolf was photographed this summer by a trail camera in northern Klamath County, in the Cascade Mountains, near Crater Lake. ODFW officials have finally confirmed his identity as the long lost wolf.
After its signal has been silent for so long, they believed that OR-3 was dead. However, it now seems that the radio collar had merely lost its power. In fact, the wolf was spotted alive and still thriving, though with very small amounts of information available.
According to another spokeswoman for the state’s department, Michelle Dennehy, it’s currently unknown if OR-3 has joined a pack or had pups of his own at this point. In fact, they do not even know where the wolf has been in the last four years. However, they will conduct more research, that will hopefully unveil clues about wandering patterns to help boost the population of wolves in the state.
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