Oregon biologists have found a gray wolf in one of the state's four known packs, bringing the state's wolf count to 25.
JOSEPH — Oregon biologists have found a gray wolf in one of the state's four known packs, bringing the state's wolf count to 25.
The Oregonian reports that photos captured by an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife remote camera show that the state's Wenaha pack produced a pup earlier this year.
The pup is shown sniffing the snow and then testing the air.
"One could presume he's still traveling with an adult," ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said, though the images show the pup alone.
The photos — from a camera in a forest in western Wallowa County — show a half-grown young wolf with a full coat of gray fur. They provide the first indication that the pack's alpha male and female reproduced.
Dennehy said the pup is believed to have been born last spring, likely in April.
The total of 25 wolves is "the number we can account for," Dennehy said, but there could be more wolves that state biologists don't yet know about.
With confirmation that the Wenaha pack had a pup, state biologists say all of Oregon's four wolf packs have reproduced this year.
The packs are all in the state's rugged northeastern corner.
The Imnaha, Wenaha and Snake River packs all dropped at least one pup, and the Walla Walla pack had at least three pups. Only the Walla Walla pack is considered a "breeding pair" for conservation purposes, meaning the pack produced at least two pups that survived through the end of the year into which they were born.
The largest pack in Oregon is the Walla Walla, with six wolves. The Imnaha, Walla Walla and Snake River packs each had five. Two other wolves roam northern Umatilla County, along with two "dispersers" in northeastern Oregon.
The first physical evidence that wolves had returned to Oregon by migrating across the Snake River from Idaho came in 2007, when a rancher found tracks on the south end of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.