One of the few wolves that has taken up residence near Mount Hood has died, wildlife officials confirmed Monday.
The wolf was found in November near U.S. 26 and its cause of death was unknown, said Elizabeth Materna, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for wolf management in most of Western Oregon.
A necropsy revealed no gunshot wounds nor poison, but the 1 1/2 -year-old male had an injury to its front paw, which could have occurred when the animal was captured and fitted with a radio collar for tracking, and it was quite skinny, Materna said.
The wolf’s death was first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Wolves are a relatively new presence the Northern Cascades, at least in recent times.
In early 2018, two grainy pictures marked the first confirmed sighting of multiple wolves in this area of the Cascade Mountains since the predators started returning to Oregon earlier this century. They had been eradicated in the 1940s.
In August, pictures captured by a trail camera confirmed that the wolves near Mount Hood had produced a litter of at least two pups. Officials said the wolf that died recently is not thought to be the breeding male.
At last count, Oregon had at least 124 wolves, mostly concentrated around Oregon’s epicenter of wolf activity in Wallowa, Umatilla, Union and Baker counties.