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New Photos Document OR-7's Wolf Family

One of OR-7's pups | Photo: USFWS

We reported in May that California's wandering part-time wolf, OR-7, was thought by wildlife agency officials to have started a family with a female wolf in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

That suspicion was confirmed in June, as was OR-7's paternity, when biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife purloined pieces of the pups' poop for DNA testing. Though there hasn't been a whole lot of news since then, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided us with something even better than news: baby pictures.

Try not to startle your officemates with the squeeing.

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Slinking past the camera | Photo: USFWS

The photos, taken with a camera trap setup at an undisclosed location in Oregon on July 18, show Mama Wolf and at least one of the pups exploring a dirt road through a thick forest.

OR-7's mate seems to be carrying something | Photo: USFWS

OR-7's trips into the state of California prompted a flurry of activity among fans of the canid carnivore to keep wolves protected in the Golden State, culminating in a decision by the state's Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Before OR-7's visits to California in 2011 and 2012, there hadn't been a documented wolf sighting in California since 1922.

Though USFWS labeled this photo "one of OR-7's pups," the transmitter collar makes us wonder whether it might be the old boy himself. | Photo: USFWS

Though biologists are understandably keeping mum about the precise location of the new pack, none of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is farther than 50 miles from the California state line. That's an easy two-day walk for a mature wolf, which means that once the pups are a bit bigger it's entirely likely that this family will find themselves wandering the Klamath Mountains before we know it.

Eager wolf pup | Photo: USFWS

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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