By ANDREW THEEN
OR-7 is a grandpa to a new California wolf pack Oregon’s most famous wandering wolf is now a grandfather.
At least three pups in California’s Lassen National Forest can be traced to OR-7, according to the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Lassen Pack is the second in the state since the canines were wiped out in the 1920s. The other, known as The Shasta Pack, was confirmed in 2015.
OR-7 left his pack in Northeast Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains in 2011, and became national news as he wandered into Southern Oregon and eventually Northern California. Sporting a tracking collar for much of his journey, he was the first wolf to set foot in those regions in decades.
“OR-7 came from a pack whose breeding female crossed the Snake River from Idaho into Oregon.Just as wolves are expanding across Oregon, now OR-7’s progeny are expanding the range into California,” Roblyn Brown, acting wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, said in a statement.
California wildlife biologists trapped a 75-pound female wolf June 30 and placed a tracking collar on her. After officials determined she’d just given birth, staffers went back out and captured images of the wolf and her pups on a trail camera.
The female mated with OR-7’s son.
Oregon’s most recent wolf report, released in April, estimated the state’s population was stagnant when compared with previous years. Biologists documented 112 animals in Oregon.
Officials decided to remove the wolf from Oregon’s endangered species list in 2015, but the canines remain under federal protection in Western Oregon. The wolf’s primary activity is still concentrated east of U.S. 97, U.S. 20 and U.S. 395.
In California, wolves remain protected as an endangered species.