Snake River wolf collared by helicopter

By Katy Nesbitt, The Observer March 26, 2014 11:28 am

ENTERPRISE — A 2-year-old male Snake River wolf pack member was collared Monday in its home range of eastern Wallowa County.

Roblyn Brown, a Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, said the wolf, now dubbed OR-24, is now one of two collared members of that pack. OR-15, another 2-year-old male and a member of the Snake River pack, was collared in an earlier capture.

“We were able to do this because we were able to locate the pack with OR-15’s collar,” Brown said.

ODFW captured and collared the wolf with a helicopter in the rugged Hells Canyon country. The agency is working to get collars on members of each of the known packs in the state. Prime targets are the Mt. Emily and Walla Walla packs, which have no collared wolves.

Brown said using helicopters is the only way they can capture wolves in the winter per agency policy, but when the weather warms up they will be able to use traps. 

The agency has collared two dozen wolves in the last five years. Collars can track the movements of pack members in areas where livestock are raised and track their dispersal throughout the region. Several have been tracked into Idaho, Washington and into Central and Southern Oregon. Five collared Oregon wolves who made their way to Idaho were killed.

OR-7, an Imnaha wolf pack male, left the pack in the spring of 2011 and has found a home in Southern Oregon. Though that wolf’s collar may stop working in the near future because of the life of the battery, Brown said the agency does not have a plan to re-collar him.