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Gray wolf collared and released in Oregon is a first

May 8, 2009 | 11:27 am

Oregon’s first radio-collared wolf just after its release, with ear tags and a radio collar.

On the same day that gray wolves were removed from protection under the Federal Endangered Species act elsewhere in the country, a joint effort by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish & Wildlife specialists led to the first-ever radio collaring of a wolf in Oregon.

A gray wolf known to have been killing livestock in eastern Oregon was captured, collared and released.

The 2-year-old male was trapped a few miles from where a pair of wolves attacked a calf last month. Tissue samples were taken from the wolf for genetic analysis.

"The wolf was captured in the area where livestock was killed, and the track size was the same as on-site [where the calf was killed], so we know it is the same animal," said Michelle Dennehy, ODFW wildlife communications coordinator.

The radio collar will now allow the department to monitor the wolves' movements and alert ranchers if necessary.

The collars also work with radio-activated guard boxes on ranches, which will emit loud noises when a collared wolf approaches.

Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator, with Oregon’s first radio-collared wolf as it recovers from anesthesia used during the effort.

"With the radio collar we should be able to limit depredation," added Dennehy. "The department has no decision on what will be done if the wolf attacks on livestock continue. If chronic, it could lead to lethal removal, but currently we are taking a wait-and-see approach."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photos: At top, Oregon’s first radio-collared wolf just after its release, with ear tags and a radio collar. Bottom: Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator, with Oregon’s first radio-collared wolf as it recovers from anesthesia used during the effort. Credit: Courtesy of Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

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