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A state biologist collars OR-33 in this photo taken in February 2015 in Wallowa County. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that OR-33 has been spotted in Klamath County. ODFW photo
By Lacey Jarrell
KLAMATH FALLS — Wildlife officials have confirmed that a fifth radio-collared gray wolf has made its way to Southern Oregon.
The 2-year-old male wolf, designated OR-33, dispersed from the northeastern Oregon Imnaha Pack in January.
Tom Collom, the district biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Klamath Falls, said OR-33 has been traversing land west of Swan Lake Valley, between Klamath Falls and Dairy, for about 10 days.
Collom said the public has reported sightings of the wolf to ODFW. The agency conducted an aerial survey from a helicopter and confirmed the wolf is traveling by itself.
“We’ve been in contact with landowners of properties he’s been in the vicinity of in North Poe Valley and the Swan Lake area,” Collom said. “We are trying to be transparent, letting livestock producers know when he’s in the area. We’ve had no reports of depredation issues.”
Collom said OR-33 got into a couple of cow carcasses on private property and the landowners have since buried the remains.
Wildlife officials trapped and fit OR-33 with a GPS radio collar last February, when he was still a member of the Imnaha Pack.
The Imnaha Pack is the the same pack from which wolves OR-7 and OR-25 dispersed. Collom said after leaving the pack, OR-33 traveled west into the Columbia River Gorge before moving south into the Ochoco Mountains, east of Prineville, and moving through the desert toward Fort Rock Valley.
OR-33 continued traveling south, on the east side of Crescent and Chemult, before landing in southern Klamath County.
Collom said OR-33 took a similar path to OR-7 and OR-25. OR-33’s collar is programmed to send location signals twice per day, but officials have been receiving data only once every two days or so.
OR-25 is a male that made his first appearance in Klamath County in May 2015. He dispersed from the Imnaha pack in March 2015. He is known to travel between Klamath County and Northern California, and has been on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake near Keno and Rocky Point. OR-25 is believed to have attacked three calves on a ranch near the upper Williamson River in late October or early November.
Collom said Wednesday a collar transmission placed OR-25 east of the Williamson River in Lake County. He said the wolf is likely searching for food and a mate.
OR-7 was the first GPS radio-collared Imnaha wolf to make its way to Klamath County. OR-7 found a mate and they became a breeding pair in May 2014. OR-7, his mate and their offspring have been named the Rogue Pack, which lives in eastern Jackson County.
Another collared Imnaha wolf, OR-3, was spotted in northern Klamath County in October. Collom said the wolf’s collar does not transmit GPS signals and officials don’t know where the wolf is now.
A radio-collared female, OR-28, was detected in Klamath County in November. OR-28 dispersed from the Mount Emily Pack in Umatilla County. She traveled in northern Klamath and Lake counties before settling in near Silver Lake in northern Lake County.
“We’ve confirmed that she is with what appears to be a male,” Collom said, noting that officials do not believe the male is fitted with a radio collar.
The Grey Wolf has started to expand its population range towards the West Coast of the United States into Washington, Oregon and California. In November of 2011, a male grey wolf (named Journey) tagged 0R-7 and electronically tracked made his way across Oregon. OR-7 was the first confirmed sighting of a wolf west of the Cascades in Oregon since 1947 when the last Oregon State Game Commission bounty of $20 was recorded. 0R-7 journeyed back and forth across the Oregon and California border with sightings in California in December of 2011 and the summer of 2012; the first wolf sighting in California since 1924.
In 2015, 0R-7 established a pack with a mate and offspring in the Rogue River watershed in the southern Cascade Range east of Medford, Oregon. The pack was was suitably given the title Rogue Pack.
The Wolf Intelligencer