By Dylan J. Darling

The Bulletin

Another lone wolf has wandered into Central Oregon as the state considers pulling the animal from Oregon’s protected species list.

Dubbed OR-25, after his GPS tracking collar, the young male gray wolf left the Imnaha Pack in Northeast Oregon weeks ago and first wandered into Washington before returning to Oregon and going into the Mount Hood National Forest, said John Stephenson, wolf program coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “It just started taking off in the last few weeks,” he said.

The wandering wolf was most recently tracked on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, north of Mount Jefferson, said Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. State scientists captured and collared OR-25 last year. The wolf is now about 2 years old, he said, “which is the common time for them disperse.”

Two other wolves, also solitary young males from the Imnaha Pack, trekked into Central Oregon in previous years. The first, OR-3, was in the Ochocos near Prineville in fall 2011. He has not been tracked since. The second, OR-7, became a celebrity animal of sorts after he came through parts of Crook and Deschutes counties that same fall.

His visit to Central Oregon came early in his long trek that led deep into Northern California. Along the way OR-7 drew national media attention, having become the first wolf in California in nearly 90 years. Just last spring, OR-7 found a mate in the Cascades of Southern Oregon and has apparently settled down in the woods between Klamath Falls and Medford. The pair had at least three pups last year and likely will have more this spring.

When young wolves disperse they look for a new place to live, Morgan said. Doing so they may change course regularly and backtrack. He said the data provided by OR-25’s collar show the wolf has yet to settle on a new territory and does not offer a clue of where he’ll go next.

“All these collars tell us is where the wolf has been,” Morgan said. They do not give an indication of where a wolf is headed.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812,