“Lack of wariness around people”: Warning issued about wolves in southern Oregon

two wolves showed unusual behavior of not being afraid of people

Wildlife officials in southwest Oregon have issued a warning after two wolves exhibited unusual behavior of being unafraid of humans in the upper North Umpqua River area. The Umpqua National Forest reported that a yearling wolf was observed approaching vehicles, lying down near them, and not responding to human voices or honking horns, which is atypical behavior. Another wolf, OR-125, has also displayed a lack of wariness around humans. Although no attacks on humans or pets have been reported thus far, officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are urging people to be prepared for possible encounters.

The wolves in question are part of the Indigo Pack, which was established in 2018 and consists of four members. Their usual location is the upper North Umpqua River area, and they have been spotted with increasing frequency in the region. Officials stress that the behavior of these wolves poses a safety risk to people and their pets. Dog owners, in particular, are urged to keep their pets leashed since wolves are territorial towards other canines. It is important to note that the Indigo Pack, along with other wolves in western Oregon, is granted protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

With the wolf population steadily increasing and expanding across western Oregon, as evidenced by the latest census counting at least 178 wolves, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife assures the public of the overall health and positive population trend of these animals. To ensure safety during wolf encounters, authorities recommend adhering to the following guidelines: maintain a distance of at least 100 yards, leash dogs, stay vigilant by avoiding headphones, carry bear spray, refrain from feeding wolves, avoid running, make noise, and appear large. In the event of a wolf approaching, individuals are advised to speak loudly and assertively or produce loud noises to deter the wolf. If attacked, the recommended course of action is to back away slowly while facing the wolf and, if necessary, fight back.

Collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Umpqua National Forest, Meghan Dugan, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, affirms their efforts to increase awareness among individuals who engage in recreational activities or work in the Indigo Pack’s area. The primary focus is to inform the public about the yearling wolf’s unusual behavior of being unafraid of humans.

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