By MARK FREEMAN
Medford Mail Tribune
PROSPECT — Lone wolf OR-25 has pulled up stakes in Klamath County and moved over to eastern Jackson County — apparently with the intent of luring away a member of the fairer sex from his cousin’s family.
The 3-year-old male has spent the past two months hanging around the territorial fringes of the Rogue Pack and its famed patriarch OR-7.
OR-25 wears a collar fitted with a GPS-transmitter like the one OR-7 wore during his well known search for a mate when he left the Imnaha Pack in fall of 2011 and trekked across Western Oregon and Northern California before settling with his uncollared mate in southeast Jackson County in 2014.
OR-25 also dispersed from the Imnaha Pack, in 2015, and has remained almost exclusively in Jackson County the past two months. He likely has designs on a Rogue Pack female, or he could be looking to take over a pack of his own should the Rogue Pack split, says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist monitoring the wolves.
“He’s got to have something like that on his mind since he’s been hanging around where the Rogue Pack is,” says John Stephenson, a wildlife biologist working on wolf issues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service out of Bend.
But in the early-morning hours last Saturday, OR-25 had a quick meal on its mind when it apparently attacked and killed a 3-day-old calf on a private ranch off Red Blanket Road near Prospect, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The wolf’s GPS collar showed it was at the location at 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Saturday, and a ranch hand later found the dead and eviscerated calf, according to ODFW’s livestock depredation report.
A single set of wolf tracks was found at the scene when investigated later that day by ODFW biologists, leading to the confirmation that it was predation, the report states.
Biologists later checked GPS coordinates on the collar, which has been worn by OR-25 since May 20, 2014, when it was still with the Imnaha Pack of Northeast Oregon. The coordinates, along with a necropsy showing clear signs of a wolf attack, led to the confirmation Monday, said Mark Vargas, an ODFW wildlife biologist in White City.
This is the second time OR-25 has been involved in livestock predation, ODFW records show. It was also responsible for injuring three 550-pound calves on the Yamsi Ranch east of Chiloquin last fall.