Wolves killed and ate most of two calves and badly injured a third in an attack that happened on private land frequented by the pack formed by Oregon’s best known wolf, OR-7.
Whether the Rogue Pack was involved is uncertain, because no pack members wear tracking collars, but the Wood River Valley in Southern Oregon’s Klamath County is part of the territory the pack uses, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. A federal biologist, John Stephenson, added that other wolves use that area as well.
If it turns out Rogue Pack members were responsible, it would be their first known attack on livestock, said Stephenson, who works for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They’ve had a good record,” he said.
Two calves, one about 800 pounds and the other estimated at 600 pounds, were found dead and mostly consumed Oct. 5. An employee of the livestock operation told investigators he saw three wolves feeding on one of the calves.
A third calf, about 300 pounds, was found alive with bite wounds on all four legs, according to an ODFW report.
Stephenson said the cow herd is scheduled to be moved from the area in a couple weeks, and wildlife officials hope to keep them safe until then.
The Rogue Pack’s alpha male, OR-7, became well known when he dispersed from Northeast Oregon’s Imnaha pack in September 2011. He wandered across the state and into California, becoming the first wolf known to have entered that state since 1924.
After traveling more than 1,000 miles in zig-zag fashion, he settled in the Southern Oregon Cascades and in 2014 found a mate, an unknown female. They’ve since had three litters of pups. OR-7’s tracking collar quit working in June 2015, but he was photographed by a trail camera as recently as June 2016.