Rogue Pack reset
KLAMATH COUNTY — The Rogue Pack of gray wolves that have been off biologists’ radar the past year seems to be reconstituting itself in western Klamath County.
After the deaths of famed patriarch OR-7 two years ago and his former mate earlier this year, a new Rogue Pack seems to be forming with at least four new pups in tow, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Wolves in the Rogue Park area of eastern Jackson and western Klamath counties had gone undetected during the spring and summer, with no known breeding success since OR-7 disappeared and was presumed dead two years ago, according to a new ODFW report.
But wolves have been captured on ODFW trail cams as recently as earlier this month in the Wood River Valley in Klamath County, ODFW wolf spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy says.
The cameras captured images of at least four juveniles that would have been born this past April, Dennehy says.
They include an Oct. 8 short video of two 6-month-old wolves that move into range of an ODFW trail cam placed along the side of a forest road. They cavort briefly, then walk out of the camera’s range.
Dennehy says this Rogue 2.0 reset is somewhat typical of wolves in the wild.
“This is in line with the life cycle of wolves,” Dennehy says. “As leaders die, new wolves take their place.”
Dennehy says biologists expect these young wolves are pups of the new breeds of the reconstituted Rogue Pack. It is possible, but less likely, that they are offspring from two other wolves that moved into the Rogue Pack’s former realm.
Either way, they carry on the Rogue Pack moniker.
The pack’s founder, OR-7, has been dead two years, and his former mate, OR-94, was found dead of apparent natural causes in August within the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Earlier this year, evidence showed perhaps three wolves in the Rogue Pack’s known territory and no known breeding success in the past two years, leaving the pack short of an official designation.
Under Oregon’s wolf plan, packs in Oregon are defined as four wolves traveling together in winter. So the new-look Rogue Pack won’t officially gain that designation until they qualify this winter.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.