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California wolf travels into Oregon for first time; national implications on the line

(Update: Adding federal plans to delist gray wolves; group plans to sue)

Traveled into Lake County early this month

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says a male wolf from the Lassen pack has made its way into Oregon.

This is the first confirmed instance of a wolf born in California dispersing to Oregon, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Designated as LAS13M when he was captured and radio-collared in California last spring, he traveled into Lake County in early October and has so far apparently has remained there, where he joins its population of around 160 wolves.

So what brings the sub-adult male here?

Center for Biological Diversity Senior West Coast Wolf Advocate Amaroq Weiss provided NewsChannel 21 with some answers Wednesday.

"Remember when you got to be an older teenager, and you left home?" Weiss said. "That's what wolves do, too."

Weiss has worked in wolf conservation for over 20 years. Her organization works to oversee the welfare of these iconic North American predators.

"When wolves get to be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years old, it's really common for them to leave their family pack," Weiss said. "They go off looking for mates and territory of their own."

She said although those in her field celebrate the potential for a diverse gene pool, this type of movement can also complicate the protection of these animals.

Back in 1973, President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law. The following year, gray wolves were a part of the first endangered species list.

That, however, could all change very soon.

Just last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to strip federal protections from gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

The group said Thursday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to finalize its plans to remove all gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act -- and that it will file suit to challenge the move.

Wolves were nearly wiped out by the 1930s in North America, but their reappearance in the West has riled ranchers and livestock owners, among others.

According to Weiss, those in rural areas should not be concerned.

"Wolves rarely predate on livestock," Weiss said. "Their preferred prey is deer, elk, moose, bison and caribou."

But Weiss said recovery still has a long way to go, and the impending loss of federal protection could pose grave challenges to the future of wolves throughout the West.

Central Oregon / Environment / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

Comments

17 Comments

          1. Examine your feelings. First, of course, consider the pre-European residents of the West. But even if that’s not relevant to you, this state is legendary for being the destination for pioneers from other states. Who exactly got to close the door on legitimate migration, in your mind?

  1. The recently poached Black Wolf (male of an established Oregon breeding pair) makes room for other’s to move in. When poachers disrupt families they mess up the healthy order of the natural world. Stay cunning and wild, LAS13M and don’t forget to VOTE !! (-:

  2. We need not look any farther than our neighbors to the east, and we can see what the effects wolves will eventually have on our state, of course as with all things in Oregon now, we will ignore it until it bites, us on the a**. Google wolf problems in Idaho, please.
    The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is funding a $1000 ‘bounty’ per trapped and killed wolf in Idaho.
    They are not the only organization doing this, The Foundation for Wildlife management, is just one of the many who are fighting the Idaho wolf problem. Do not be fooled by people like, Center for Biological Diversity Senior West Coast Wolf Advocate Amaroq Weiss. The Wolfe species that are now in the west were never native to this region, they are much bigger, and more aggressive, these are an invasive species. if this was a zebra snail they would be scaring you to death with how much destruction they would be doing to our native species, do your own research, before our local wildlife is destroyed.

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