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Sunday, March 28, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Wolf That Wandered Into Oregon Recaptured And Returned To Idaho

AP

PRAIRIE CITY, Ore. - After eluding wildlife officials for more than a month, a lone gray wolf that wandered into Oregon has been captured and flown back to Idaho.

"It was a safe and successful capture, " said Roy Heberger, head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf-reintroduction program in Idaho.

"They captured her with a net gun in an area of thin timber and small meadows about 1:30 (Friday afternoon) and she is doing fine."

The female wolf, know as B-45F, was captured Friday in the headwaters of Huckleberry Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork of the John Day River east of Highway 395.

"She's gained a noticeable amount of weight since we collared her last year," Heberger said. "She was very calm after capture."

Officials say the wolf will be released as quickly as possible near the Continental Divide, inside the experimental population area which is home to 113 other gray wolves. She is likely to have better luck finding a mate there than she did in Oregon, where no other wolves have roamed since 1967.

The wolf's presence in Oregon heightened the long-running tension between ranchers who want to protect their livelihood and biologists and environmental groups intent on restoring the gray wolf to its historical range.

The wolf, one of several missing for four months from a pack known to kill domestic livestock, reportedly crossed into Oregon on Feb. 11.

Biologists using radio telemetry to monitor the wolf's movements were hampered by bad weather and rough terrain.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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