State wildlife staffers collared and released three wolves from the Imnaha pack last week, which will help wildlife managers better track and understand the pack's movements, ODFW announced Thursday, Feb. 18.

A 115-pound wolf believed to be the alpha male was fitted Friday with a GPS collar, which allows ODFW to collect multiple locations of the wolf each day. A 97-pound male was fitted with a radio collar during the same operation and a 70-pound female pup was radio-collared on Saturday.

"The wolves were in good body condition and the capture went well," said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.

These wolves were found in the ODFW Imnaha Wildlife Management Unit and are part of a pack videoed on Nov. 12, 2009. Based on the evidence so far, Morgan believes this pack consists of 10 wolves, with five of those pups.

Back in January 2008, the alpha female of this pack, B-300, was confirmed to be the first wolf to enter Oregon from Idaho since the early 2000s. She was captured and re-fitted with a working radio collar in July of last year, which helped ODFW find the three additional members of the pack.

While the size of wolf packs can vary, breeding usually occurs only between the dominant or "alpha" male and female of the pack.

In addition to the Imnaha pack, ODFW continues to track a wolf pack in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit, also in Wallowa County. None of these wolves has been collared yet, but wildlife managers have repeatedly found tracks and scat from these animals and estimate there are four wolves in this pack.

The Imnaha and Wenaha packs are the only known wolf packs in Oregon, though ODFW continues to find evidence of individual wolves throughout the state.

Wolves in Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act and west of Highways 395, 78 and 95, wolves are also protected by the federal act.

For more information on wolves in Oregon: www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves.

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