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ODFW camera captures wolf returning to den in southwest Oregon

In this still image from video, a wolf (within red box) can be seen nearing a den in southwest Oregon in May 2022. (ODFW)
In this still image from video, a wolf (within red box) can be seen nearing a den in southwest Oregon in May 2022. (ODFW)
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For the first time in modern times, scientists believe they have documented a wolf traveling from California and into Oregon, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wolf LAS013 was born in Lassen County, California in the northern part of that state.

The center said he left his birth pack and came to Oregon in late 2020. Once in Oregon, he met OR-115, a female wolf. Biologists believe they have likely started a family.

“We’re so glad these wolves found each other,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a news release. “The thrilling story of wolf recovery in Oregon and California is still in its infancy. Since wolves don’t use dating apps to find each other, they need other wolves in their neighborhood to keep the story going.”

Both wolves have been fitted with radio collars, and one of them was captured on video shot from an airplane returning to a den in southwest Oregon in May.

The video was released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The plane is used by Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife and is usually used for things like tracking down poachers and searching for missing people. But in this case, biologists with ODFW circled overhead at 10,000 feet to observe the den.

The idea is to monitor it for wolf pups.

ODFW officials say they don’t enter the dens to count the pups; instead, they set up trail cameras and, in this case, captured video of a den from the air.

“Survey work for Oregon’s annual wolf count doesn’t start until the end of the year, but having an idea of how many pups have been produced by a pack and their color (black or gray) can help with counting later,” ODFW said in a news release.

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