The gray wolf pup caught by wildlife cameras in early July has at least one brother or sister.
New photos, taken along a gravel road in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, indicate Oregon’s wandering wolf, OR-7, has fathered at least two pups this year.
“It’s pretty exciting that his pack continues to grow,” said Quinn Read, a Klamath wildlife advocate for Oregon Wild.
OR-7 and his mate produced three pups in spring 2014. The five wolves were christened the Rogue Pack — Western Oregon’s first wolf pack — in January.
Images released earlier this year confirmed the three pups born in 2014 survived the winter and are still united. The pups are now about 15 months old and considered adult-size yearlings.
The new wolf pups were probably born in April, according to John Stephenson, a wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Many of the pup images were snapped in early morning, just before sunrise. In addition to the pups, the wildlife camera snapped portraits of deer, bear, a bobcat and OR-7, with his identifying GPS collar.
After OR-7 was fitted a GPS radio collar as a 2 year old, in 2011, he gained fame for dispersing from the Northeastern Oregon Imnaha Pack and traveling hundreds of miles across Oregon.
OR-7 became the first confirmed wolf sighted west of the Cascades since 1937.
The female OR-7 is mated with is a confirmed descendent of Northeast Oregon’s Snake River and Minam packs.
The collar’s GPS battery stopped working earlier this year, but biologists have been able to occasionally locate the OR-7 using the VHF (very high frequency) analog signal it emits.
“There is some possibility at this point that the radio signal has quit on OR-7’s collar. I’m thinking is probably still working, but we haven’t picked it up since June,” Stephenson said.
Wildlife officials will attempt to capture and fit a member of the Rogue Pack with a GPS collar this month or in September, according to Stephenson.
He said although the Rogue Pack is for now staying in its namesake forest, it’s likely the wolves may at some point venture back into Klamath County and the Wood River Valley.
“Now that there’s essentially five wolves in the pack, I’m sure they’ll make periodic movements to the Wood River Valley, Stephenson said.
“They were doing that regularly last year; I assume they are still doing it.”
Wolves delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act are no longer protected east of U.S. Highways 395-78-95, though they remain federally listed west of that boundary. They also are protected under the Oregon endangered species management program.