By The Associated Press
PORTLAND — A wolf that might have been injured when it was captured and fitted with a radio collar was found dead near Mount Hood in northern Oregon, wildlife officials said.
The young male wolf found in November was one of only a few wolves that have taken up residence again near the volcanic mountain, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Monday.
A necropsy found the wolf was not poisoned or shot, said Elizabeth Materna, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman. The animal’s cause of death was unknown, but it had an injury to its front paw that possibly occurred when it was captured, she said.
The federal agency oversees wolf management in most of western Oregon.
The first wolves were sighted in early 2018 in this area of the northern Cascades Mountains. Images from a trail camera near Mount Hood last summer showed the returning wolves had produced a litter of at least two. The wolf that recently died was not thought to be the breeding male, wildlife officials said.
Officials estimate that at least 124 wolves live in Oregon, mostly in the northeastern part of the state.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife manages wolves in the eastern part of the state where the animals are listed as endangered. The state wildlife commission is set to vote a management plan in March.
Environmental groups withdrew last month from negotiations on the plan, saying their proposals had not been fairly considered.