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Second wolf reported in Keno Unit
by LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 1/28/15
     A second wolf has joined the mystery canine in the Keno Unit west of Klamath Falls.

   Earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released information about a gray wolf spotted in the unit. According to John Stephenson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, that wolf has been joined by a larger black wolf.

   “The size difference between the two suggests a male and female, but we don’t know for sure,” Stephenson said.

   According to the ODFW release, irregular reports of wolf activity in the Keno Unit have been received over the past year. This   week, the agency released an updated map revealing the area of known wolf activity. The maps are created to indicate where wolves have become established, meaning repeated use of an area by wolves and not just wolves disbursing through an area.

   Stephenson said scientists don’t know if the two wolves entered the unit together. The agency plans to keep tabs on whether they remain in the area. If they stay, biologists will likely try to collar at least one wolf, he said.

   The agency also announced Tuesday that Oregon is transitioning to phase two of its wolf recovery plan. The change could only occur once biologists documented seven breeding pairs in the state.

   According to a news   release, of the nine known wolf packs in Oregon, only the Imnaha pack in the state’s northeastern reaches is not a breeding pair.

   A breeding pair is a pair of adult wolves that produce at least two pups that survive to the end of each year. Six of Oregon’s 2014 breeding pairs are in Eastern Oregon, the release said.

   “This is an important step for Oregon. Wolves have now met one of the initial milestones envisioned by the public and the Commission,” Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator, said in a statement. “In the past seven years, Oregon has gone from no known wolves, to resident and reproducing wolves, and now to meeting our conservation objective for the eastern part of the state.”  

   The transition to phase two also marks the initiation of the delisting process in Oregon, as outlined in the Wolf Plan. According to the release, ODFW will begin conducting a status review and will present the results to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in April 2015. Delisting from the Oregon List of Endangered Species is a public process, and the Commission could make their decision as early as June 2015, the release said.

   Wolves remain listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act west of highways 395-78-95. The only known wolves in this area are members of the recently designated Rogue Pack and two wolves confirmed in the Keno Unit, the release said.

    ljarrell@heraldandnews.com  ; @LMJatHandN



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