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Wolf crosses into Jackson County

The first wolf confirmed in southwest Oregon in 65 years has at least temporarily visited Jackson County. Satellite tracking systems pinpointed the 2-year-old male wolf known as OR-7 in northeastern Jackson County on Sunday, the last contact with the animal.

The wolf slipped just across the Klamath County line north of Mount McLoughlin, says spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The agency does not release specific locations of the wolf's electronic transmitting collar readings because the animal is protected as endangered under state and federal laws.

But a view of the ODFW's map of the wolf's more than 300-mile journey from the Imnaha Mountains near Enterprise to Jackson County puts it somewhere east of Butte Falls.

Biologists have said they have no way to predict when and where the wolf will settle in after its travels away from its original pack in a wolf version of leaving the nest.

Since that journey began Sept. 10, the meandering wolf has entered 10 different counties, traveling in a southwesterly direction across the Oregon high desert and into the southern Cascades.

After high-tailing it through Deschutes County, the wolf crossed the Cascade crest into Douglas County on Oct. 27, making it the first known wolf in Western Oregon since the last one was shot for a bounty in Douglas County in 1946.

ODFW biologists in Central Point had no information Monday when the last known wolf was in Jackson County before all were hunted down.

The wolf has been working its way south in western Klamath County most of the past week before its jaunt into Jackson County, Dennehy says.

After spending much of the past week toggling between Klamath and Douglas counties while crisscrossing the Cascade crest, the wolf has headed south and west while remaining recently east of Jackson County, Dennehy said.

Born in Oregon in 2009 and collared in February of this year, OR-7 is one of 23 known wolves in Oregon since they wandered into northeast Oregon from Idaho in the late 1990s.

Most dispersing wolves travel alone and there was no indication whether he was joined by any other animals, but biologists have said there was a "high likelihood" other non-collared wolves have reached the Cascades.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

This map from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shows the route taken to Southern Oregon by the wolf known as OR-7.