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Wildlife officials confirm wolf pack in NE Oregon

Capital Press Staff 7/21/08

A wolf pack that includes both adults and pups has been confirmed in northeast Oregon in northern Union County, according to state wildlife officials.

The finding, confirmed Friday, July 18, is the first evidence of a pack and wolf reproduction in Oregon since wolves were wiped out in the state back in the mid-1940s.

Wildlife biologists conducting a howling survey heard the howls of at least two adults and two pups.

Signs of wolf activity have been observed in the area since November and biologists have been conducting regular surveys of the area since, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State and federal biologists will continue to monitor the area to try to determine how many wolves may be there. Biologist may also attempt to capture and place radio collars on the wolves to better monitor their activity.

Experts have long predicted that wolves from the Idaho population would continue to cross into Oregon. Biologists have been investigating evidence of wolves in northeast Oregon for some time.

Officials from ODFW and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reiterated that it is illegal to shoot a wolf. Any gray wolf in Oregon is listed as an endangered species under both state and federal law.

Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon were de-listed from the federal Endangered Species Act in March, but U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction on Friday, July 18, that restored federal wolf protections.

Killing a protected animal is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. Killing a wolf is also a violation of Oregon state game law, with fines and penalties that are assessed by the court.

Individuals who see a wolf, or suspect or discover wolf activity are asked to immediately contact Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, at

541-963-2138; John Stephenson, wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 541-786-3282; or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service La Grande field office at 541-962-8584.

Wolf sightings can also be reported online through ODFW's wolf website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/index.asp.

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