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Oregon's Wolf Population Growing In Mount Emily, Meacham

A remote camera catches a wolf from the North Emily group in northeast Oregon.

A remote camera catches a wolf from the North Emily group in northeast Oregon.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A misty rain fell Wednesday morning in the Blue Mountains east of Pendleton, where Greg Rimbach drove the muddy forest roads scanning for wolf tracks.

“Once you see one, now you’re an expert,” said Rimbach, district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. “When they want to go somewhere, they like walking along roads down ridges. It’s just easier.”

Since wolves dispersed from Idaho and returned to northeast Oregon in the late 1990s, more of the predators are settling and forming packs in the Walla Walla and Mount Emily wildlife units. The district is now home to seven packs or groups of wolves totaling at least 36 animals — nearly one-third of the state’s known wolf population.

Rimbach figures he spends a quarter of his workdays managing wolves, from trapping and collaring to investigating claims of livestock predation. His latest project involves finding and re-collaring OR-11, a male wolf from the Walla Walla pack that initially split to form the Mount Emily pack, and has split once again and paired up with a new mate at the south end of the Mount Emily Unit.

Read more at the East Oregonian.

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