Environment | local | Ecotrope

All Four Oregon Wolf Packs Are Making Babies

OPB | Dec. 28, 2011 12:18 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 27, 2013 10:09 a.m.

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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week that a remote camera in Wallowa County spotted a new pup in the Wenaha wolf pack.

ODFW cameras caught a photo of a new pup in the Wenaha wolf pack.

That means all four of the state’s confirmed wolf packs produced pups this year: Imnaha (see video above, taken in July), Wenaha, Snake River and Walla Walla.

But that doesn’t mean all four packs will be counted as “breeding pairs” – a wolf pack that has produced at least two pups that survive through the end of the year. “Breeding pairs” are the way the state tallies the wolf population under the state Endangered Species Act.

As I reported earlier, state wolf management rules say ODFW can only start removing state Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves when there are four breeding pairs in the eastern third of the state (roughly) for three consecutive years. Endangered Species Act protections prevent people from killing wolves freely, so they make it harder for ranchers trying to protect their livestock.

This year, ODFW says only the Walla Walla pack will likely be confirmed as a breeding pair. Northeast Oregon now has four confirmed packs of wolves that are making babies, but it’s still a ways away from having the four breeding pairs required to remove state endangered species protections.

Find more on this and other environmental stories on our Ecotrope blog.

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