A single photograph has made wildlife enthusiasts in the Oregon area very happy and mesmerized, as it shows something that hasn’t been seen for over 70 years. A wildlife camera was able to capture a family of rare gray wolves in an area where they were least expected.
You see, the grey wolves breed has been mostly gone in Oregon for a very long time. They used to be well-represented in numbers, but due to massive hunting as well as loss of habitat, no one has spotted a gray wolf pup in over seven decades.
You can imagine the surprise when the camera revealed not one, but two wolf pups!
Luckily, efforts were made to stabilize the gray wolf population statewide (and in some other states as well), to make sure that the breed wouldn’t go extinct. It was a joint operation by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the same organization on a national level. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs also assisted.
“A new pair of wolves in the White River Unit (southern Wasco County) south of Mt Hood has produced at least two pups this year”, the ODFW writes on their website.
“A remote camera on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation first captured images of two pups on Aug. 10. This marks the first known reproduction by wolves in the northern portion of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains since wolves began returning to the state in the 2000s.”
The baby wolves were spotted in the Mount Hood area, close to Mirror Lake and situated in the Hood River County. All three organizations are co-operating and monitoring this family of wolves, as they’re protected under the Endangered Species Act.
In 2014, there was already a glimpse of hope of new wolves in the area.
Observers were able to spot a male wolf around four years ago, which is rare, but not extraordinarily so. However, things started to change when a female gray wolf was also seen two years after they spotted the first wolf. It didn’t take long before they realized that there was a good chance of them being mates.
The news is especially heartwarming for Mr. Brooks Fahy, who is the executive director for the Predator Defense animal organization and lives in the area.
“Knowing wolves are back on Mount Hood is extra special for me,” he said to The Dodo. “I moved there in 1977. I always dreamed wolves would someday reoccupy their historic niche in this majestic rugged landscape.”
The entire family of wolves is in good health and spirits, but it’s important to keep an eye on them and protect them as best as possible.
Both hunting and loss of habitat are threats that are still valid today.
“I am cautiously optimistic they will do well,” Brooks added. “I wish I could say the same for the rest of Oregon.”
The news has also been brought to the attention of the Wolf Conservation Center, who couldn’t be any more thrilled.
“The birth of these adorable pups represents an important milestone in wolf conservation,” director Maggie Howell said to The Dodo.
“The gray wolf’s amazing comeback from the brink of extinction is a testament to the success of the Endangered Species Act — one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.”
However, there is still some controversy and a number of complications regarding state laws. Some wolves in Oregon are allowed to be killed if they interfere with the ranching industry.
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“Just last week, ODFW reissued a kill permit to a rancher in Wallowa County who lost a calf to wolves, allowing him to shoot one wolf from the Chesnimnus pack on his public land grazing allotment,” the Wolf Conservation Center states.
“This brings up very a serious question — should Oregon be allowed to kill wolves on America’s public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business?”
It looks like there’s still some work to be done – but the positive news about these two wolf pups definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed.
We can only hope that the gray wolves will no longer face extinction one day and can live their lives without worrying about hunters or losing their home.
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