Oregon's wolf population continues to grow with six new packs

Photo courtesy Dan Stahler / UCLA

State wildlife biologists counted 158 wolves in Oregon over the winter, a 15 percent increase over last year.

Posted: Apr 15, 2020 4:27 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2020 4:49 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's protected population of grey wolves grew over last year, according to counts done over the winter by state wildlife biologists. Howeever, the venerable father of southern Oregon's own "Rogue Pack" may not have made it through the winter months.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) recorded 158 wolves in the state over this past winter — a 15 percent increase over the last count of 137. The count is part of the agency's annual report released on Wednesday.

The yearly counts or based on "verified wolf evidence" — sightings, tracks, and photos taken by remote cameras. The number is usually considered to be a minimum count, not a precise accounting.

"The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals present in the state are located during the winter count," ODFW said.

In the report, state biologists documented 22 packs of four or more wolves traveling together in winter, up from 16 packs the year before. Nine smaller groups of two or three wolves were also found.

“The state’s wolf population continues to grow and expand its range, with three new packs in the Blue Mountains south of Interstate 84,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator.

Of the identified packs, 19 reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups surviving through the end of 2019, constituting a "breeding pair."


RELATED: Oregon wildlife head backs removal of wolves from endangered list


The Rogue Pack

The renowned progenitor of southern Oregon's Rogue Pack, known as OR-7, was last photographed in the fall and has not been documented since, though his mate has remained active along with three other wolves. ODFW did not document any breeding in the pack over 2019.

OR-7 was born in 2009 and is estimated to be 11 years old, which ODFW says is old for a wolf.

“We don’t know if OR7 has died, but it would be reasonable to assume considering his age, which is old for a wolf in the wild,” said Brown. “It is natural for packs to change over time as individual wolves are born, disperse or die.”

Last year's wolf report saw a dramatic spike in wolves preying on livestock, much of it by the Rogue Pack. This time, ODFW said, wolf depredations were down 43 percent.

Still, the majority of Oregon's wolf depredation in 2019 was attributed to the Rogue Pack, which struck ranchers' animals nine times over the year.

Less than 30 percent of packs that were present in 2019 preyed on livestock, ODFW said. Five other packs each depredated one time, and one pack depredated twice.


RELATED: Oregon man sentenced for illegal killing of endangered wolf


Oregon’s Wolf Plan mandates that ranchers use non-lethal means to keep wolves away before lethal removal can be considered. In 2019, ODFW said, those measures included removing attractants, hazing, electrified fladry, fence maintenance, radio-activated guard boxes, increased human presence, range riders and other husbandry practices.

“The wolf population continues to expand into areas where livestock producers have less experience with wolves. I have been impressed with the ingenuity of Oregon’s ranchers as they look for and implement new tools and techniques to reduce the vulnerability of their livestock on a landscape with wolves,” said Brown. “We appreciate all livestock producers for their efforts to co-exist with wolves.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Brookings
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: °
Drying out, winds diminish this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events