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MailTribune.com
  • OR-7's family ties grow in latest photos

  • New photos of wolf OR-7's pups show that he and his mate have at least three offspring roaming the woods of eastern Jackson County — and maybe more.
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  • New photos of wolf OR-7's pups show that he and his mate have at least three offspring roaming the woods of eastern Jackson County — and maybe more.
    Photos snapped by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trail camera earlier this month reveal at least two gray pups along the logging road where the camera this spring captured images of OR-7 and its dark-colored mate.
    Earlier photos shot in June from just outside their den showed at least one dark-colored pup, says John Stephenson, the fish and wildlife service biologist in Bend who is tracking Western Oregon's only known wolf pack.
    "So we're up to three pups, but it could be more," Stephenson says.
    Information from OR-7's GPS-transmitting collar show the family has moved from its spring den and is using "rendezvous sites" about three or four miles from the original den, Stephenson says.
    Rendezvous sites are where adults meet up with the pups after going off on hunting excursions, he says.
    The photos were taken July 12 and were retrieved from the camera July 17, Stephenson says. See them at www.mailtribune.com/or7pups.
    OR-7 famously struck out on his own from his home pack in northeastern Oregon in 2011 in search of a mate and new territory and headed into Southern Oregon, where he became the first known wolf in Western Oregon since 1937.
    When he crossed into California at the end of 2011, he became the Golden State's only confirmed wolf since 1924.
    Last year he returned to Oregon, settling in remote forestland in the South Cascades. He somehow discovered a mate and the pair had their pups this spring in a den on remote Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest land.
    The family is considered a pack with two adults, Stephenson says.
    These wolves are protected as endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act because of their location in southwestern Oregon, outside of territory where wolves have been federally delisted. All wolves in Oregon are protected as endangered by the state Endangered Species Act.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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