Get to Know Oregon's Wolves
Many thanks to an anonymous source who compiled and shared these photographs and information. It has since been updated several times to reflect new information (most recently October 22, 2015)
Fans and followers of Oregon Wild's wildlife conservation efforts know Journey was the name bestowed upon OR-7 as the result of a naming contest for the world's most famous wolf. The Journey moniker has been absolutely apropo for the wandering lone wolf of the Imnaha pack. His story has lent Oregon's wolf recovery notoriety, but it shouldn't come at the expense of his Canis lupus brothers and sisters. Their names may be a bit more sterile, but their faces are no less memorable and their lives no less interesting..
Below are the faces and stories of Oregon's Wolves. Sadly, some are no longer with us. Some have been killed for sport, died of natural causes, been killed illegally, or simply disappeared from our best efforts to keep track of them.
There may be no better indicator that we're on the right path to a more ecologically-healthy Oregon than the return of a native animals to an area they inhabited for thousands of years. Thanks to the efforts of many, wolf recovery is back on track in Oregon. But with just 64 known adult wolves in the entire state, it remains tenuous. To ensure their survival and that of all other native wildlife, we'll continue to need your help and your voice.
All photos, and much of the information are courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). For more information on Oregon's wolves, visit the ODFW website, our wildlife webpage, and follow Oregon's Wolves on Facebook.
Meet the wolves!
OR-2 - A gray female, OR-2 is also known to some as Sophie or B-300. She was born a member of the Timberline pack in Idaho. She was originally collared by Idaho Fish and Game and given the name B-300 on August 24, 2006. After she dispersed from the Timberline pack, OR-2 became the matriarch of the Imnaha pack, and was re-collared in Oregon as OR-2 on July 17, 2009 (see video of OR-2 with one of her pups here). Wildlife appreciators named her Sophie later that year. By whatever name she is known, she has played a big role in Oregon wolf recovery. Many of her offspring have started other packs. After several wolves failed to survive in Oregon (the first to return were trapped, shot, and hit by cars) there have been wolves in the state since she was confirme here. Her radio collar stopped sending signals in the summer of 2013 and she hasn't been observed since 2013.
OR-3 - A black male collared on February 12, 2010, OR-3 weighed in at 97 pounds at the time. He dispersed from the Imnaha pack in May 2011 and was last located September 2011 near Prineville. Wildlife Advocate Rob Klavins detailed his 2010 encounter with OR-3 and the Imnaha Pack in a blog post titled Hiking With Wolves. OR-3 has been spotted on a trail camera in the Cascade Mountains, near Crater Lake. Though his collar is expected to be no longer sending out a signal, since the time span has exceeded the battery life, ODFW has confirmed the photograph is of OR-3.
OR-4 - The black male patriarch of the Imnaha pack, OR-4 was first radio collared on February 12, 2010, weighing in (reportedly with a belly-full of elk) at 115 pounds. To date, OR-4 is the biggest confirmed wolf in Oregon. During the summer of 2010, OR-4's collar malfunctioned. Many feared the worst, but a trailcam photo in August showed he was still alive. He was re-collared for the fourth time in February 2014. His collar has failed again, but further efforts to recollar him have been unsuccessful. This is the most times ODFW has collared a wolf, but as the breeding male of the Imnaha Pack, the agency feels his collar data is helpful in managing livestock interactions and social concerns in his packs' area. You can hear OR-4 barking and howling here.
OR-7 - Journey may be the world's most famous wolf. He's the subject of a documentary, an art installation, expedition, a coming play, and more. Before he began his legendary, and ongoing (now over 3,000 miles), trek to California and back, OR-7 was collared and named in the same manner as his brothers and sisters. A gray male, Journey was given his collar on February 25, 2011 in Wallowa County, weighing 90 pounds and estimated to be about one-and-a-half years old. The weather at the time was too cold for photos. OR-7 dispersed from the Imnaha pack sometime in September of 2011. Passing within miles of where Oregon's last wolf bounty was collected, he became the first wolf in Western Oregon in over half a century and then the first to return to California after an absence of 87 years on December 28, 2011. After zig-zagging between Oregon and California, speculation grew that the batteries on his collar would expire. However, in early June 2014 ODFW & the USFWS confirmed that Journey had found a mate and was taking care of pups in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests. Photos of his mate and pups that can be viewed here.
OR-10 - A gray female of the Walla Walla pack, OR-10 was collared on October 21, 2011 in northern Umatilla County. At the time she weighed 48 pounds and was estimated to be about six months old. She dispersed from the pack in February 2013, moving into Idaho and Montana.
OR-11 - OR-11 was collared on October 25, 2011 when he was about six months old and a pup in the Walla Walla pack. He has since dispersed and become thg breeding male of the Mt. Emily pair. The night photo was taken on June 27, 2013. OR-11 is also the subject of the iconic wolf photograph above, seen around the world. OR-11's photo has served as the banner for Oregon's Wolves and was the cover of a recent Oregon Wild newsletter. His collar failed in January 2013.
OR-12 - This black male was collared on April 2, 2012 in northwest Wallowa County. The patriarch of the Wenaha pack, OR-12 weighed in at 96 pounds, and was estimated to be three years old at the time he was given his collar.
OR-13 - A black female of the Wenaha pack, OR-13 was collared June 10, 2012. She weighed 85 pounds, and at the time of her second capture was estimated to be two years old.
OR-14 - A gray male collared on June 20, 2012 in the Weston Mountain region north of the Umatilla River, OR-14 weighed in at 90 pounds and was estimated to be six years old. He is the breeding male of the Mt. Emily Pack and was tracked until his collar failed in January 2014.
OR-25 - A yearling male, radio collared on May 20, 2014. He is originally part of the Imnaha Pack and has traveled through the Columbia Basin, Southern Blue Mountains, and Northern and Central Cascade Mountains and has been in the Klamath County area (Sprague wildlife management unit) since May.
OR- 26 - He was radio collared in the Mt. Emily wildlife unit on May 25, 2013. He weighed 100 lbs. at the time, making him one of Oregon's biggest wolves. Collar data collected in the ensuing days prompted ODFW to declare a second pack in the area and he paired up and has had two pups! The pups have survived through the end of the year and is counted as a breeding pair.
OR-27 - This 72 lb. female of the Minam pack was collared June 3, 2014. She has now dispersed from her pack and paired up with OR-24 from the Snake River Pack. Since then, the pair has been located in the upper elevation forested portions of the Keating and Catherine Creek Units, with most locations occurring within the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
OR-28 - This is the latest wolf collared by ODFW on June 7, 2014. She is a yearling female weighing 72 lbs at the time of collaring. She's the first wolf to be collared from the Mt. Emily pack, which was first discovered in May 2013 and has four known adult wolves.
OR-15 - A black male of the Snake River Pack, pup OR-15 was collared on August 2, 2012. At the time he weighed only 49 pounds, and was estimated to be about four months old. Serious concerns were raised over the ethics of collaring a growing wolf with a fixed-size collar, but OR-15 was later recaptured and given a new collar in March of 2013.
OR-20 - Breeding female for Minam pack. She was the first collared wolf of the Minam pack and weighed 81 lbs. at the time of collaring in May 2013.
OR-23 - This wolf was incidentally trapped in 2013 and was released safely by ODFW with a radio collar.
OR-24 - A two year old male with a GPS collar dispersed from his Snake River Pack and paired up with OR-27 in July. Known as the Catherine Pair, these two have been located in the upper elevation forested portions of the Keating and Catherine Creek Units, with most locations occurring within the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
OR-30 - A male wolf who was collared in Febuary 2015, in the Mt Emily Wildlife Management Unit, has crossed I-84 and is currently residing in the Starkey and Ukiah wildlife management units in Union County since May.
The Rest of the Gang
So far only 28 of Oregon's wolves have received names and numbers from state biologists. However at the beginning of 2014, Oregon is home to 81 confirmed wolves in 10 packs and eight breeding pairs. (Imnaha Pack, Snake River Pack, Walla Walla Pack, Wenaha Pack, Minam Pack, Mt. Emily Pack, Umatilla River Pack, Sled Springs Pack, and Mt. Emily Pack)
Recovery seems to be on the right track, but remains tenuous. Nearly half of Oregon's wolves are pups less than a year old. In 2013 wolves were lost to poaching and disease. Meanwhile, over 1,000 wolves have been killed for sport in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where aggressive wolf-killing policies have been in place since wolves were stripped by congress of their protections under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Obama administration has continued to push a proposal to strip protections from wolves in Oregon and most of the lower-48 over the objection of its own scientists. Wolf recovery may soon be in the hands of the state where wolf management has been controversial. ODFW is facing a major budget crisis and appears poised to reduce protections if the population does not dramatically drop in the next year.
Though most Oregonians value native wildlife, for some old prejudices die hard. Wolves continue to be at the campaign of purposeful misinformation and fear. In a state that values its conservation ethic, the purposeful extermination of wolves is an environmental tragedy. Their return has the potential to be one of our greatest conservation success stories. If that story is to have a happy ending it is more critical than ever that Oregonians who want to see wolf recovery take hold make their voices heard.
Those who are no longer with us
OR-1 - This gray male was collared on May 3, 2009, and weighed in at 87 pounds. Unfortunately, OR-1 was later killed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Keating Valley near Baker City, Baker County after exhausitve non-lethal efforts to prevent depredations on livestock failed.
OR-5 - Journey's sister, OR-5 was a gray female collared on February 13, 2010. At the time she was collared she weighed 70 pounds. She later dispersed from the Imnaha pack into Washington state. Sadly, OR-5 was killed by a trapper in the Idaho panhandle on the next-to last day of the state's recreational wolf trapping season, March 30, 2013.
OR-6 - A gray male of the Wenaha pack, OR-6 was collared on August 4, 2010. At the time, the collaring operation was said to be the most extensive and exhaustive ever carried out in Oregon. OR-6 weighed 97 pounds, but sadly, he didn't live to grow any bigger. Just a few days later, OR-6 was killed by a poacher. A $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer remains unclaimed.
OR-8 - This gray female of the Imnaha pack was collared on February 25, 2011 in Wallowa County, weighing in at 74 pounds and estimated to be about one-and-a-half years old. Sadly, her new collar emitted a mortality signal just days later on March 1, only five miles away from her release site. Lab work on OR-8's body revealed a hemorrhage in her chest cavity which was likely related to her capture, i.e. capture myopathy. A danger in handling wild animals, capture myopathy results in damage to the animal's muscle tissue, brought about by the exertion, struggle, and understandable stress a wild animal may feel upon capture.
OR- 9 - Though a grisly photo of OR-9 exists after he was killed at the hands of a poacher, there are no known photos of OR-9 alive. A gray male, OR-9 was collared on February 26, 2011 in the Grouse Creek region east of Joseph in Wallowa County. OR-9 weighed 90 pounds at the time of his capture, and was estimated to between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half years old. He dispersed from the Imnaha pack and crossed the Brownlee Reservoir into Idaho, before being illegally shot to death on February 2, 2012. The poacher was not punished.
OR-16 - OR-16 was a black male of the Walla Walla pack and was captured north of Elgin in Union County on November 1, 2012. OR-16 weighed 85 pounds at the time, and was estimated to be just over one-and-a-half-years old. About two months after this photo was taken, OR-16 was shot dead on Kirkham Ridge, Idaho on January 17, 2013. OR-16 had crossed the Snake River into the Gem State about a month earlier.
OR-17 - In February 2013 OR-17 was incidentally caught in a trap set for coyotes. When wolves (or other endangered species) are accidentally caught in a trap, trappers are required to alert ODFW under Oregon Furbearer Regulations. In this case, the trapper followed the law and OR-17 was collared and released by ODFW in good health. She was a 76 lb. yearling. This photo shows OR-17 with one of the 2013 pups of the Imnaha pack. Subadult wolves often assist in raising the pack's pups. On March 2, 2014 she was shot and killed by a hunter as part of that state's recreational hunt. She had only been out of Oregon for a week when she was shot.
OR-18 - A member of the Snake River pack, OR-18 was collared on March 14, 2013 during a helicopter capture operation. He was estimated to be "just shy" of two years old. OR-18 appeared to be dispersing to the West, but was unable to cross I-84. After turning around, he headed east before being illegally killed in Montana. A reward was offered for the poacher, but has not been claimed.
OR-19 - Six days after being collared, this yearling female from the Wenaha pack was found dead on May 17, 2013. A necropsy showed that she had died of parvovirus. About a month later, a male pup from the same pack was found dead and was determined to have died from the parvovirus as well. These were the first documented cases of death in wolves by this disease in Oregon. Outbreaks of parvovirus have been documented throughout wolf populations in the western United States. If you have a pet dog, parvovirus might sound familiar because domestic dogs are usually vaccinated for it. It is relatively common in domestic dogs and is highly contagious, occasionally being transferred into wild canine populations such as wolf, fox, and coyote. There is no evidence that other wolf packs in Oregon are affected by the virus, but it remains a concern.
OR- 21 - A yearling that was radio collared on June 3, 2013 in Wallowa County was found dead, along with her mate, on August 23rd, under suspicious circumstances. Investigation has been suspended and cause of death is unknown because of the advanced state of decay. Known as the Sled Springs Pair, OR-21 and her mate were raising pups born this past spring and, according to the ODFW, it is unknown if the pups are still alive.
OR-22 - Caught and collared in 2013, and a member of the Umatilla River pack that had dispersed into new territory, OR-22 has been reported "accidentally" shot and killed on October 6, 2015 near Prairie City, by a hunter who contacted the ODFW to report the incident. Police are currently investigating and charges could include one year in jail and a fine up to $6,250. He attracted some attention after arriving in Malheur County when several farmers and irrigation ditch workers spotted him laying in a wheat field west of Adrian on April 21, and was even spotted swimming in a canal in front of some ditch workers.
"If the wolf is to survive, wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out-financed, and out-voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes." - L. David Mech