Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Oregon State Officials Ask Public To Help Find 8 Wolf Killers

Officials in Oregon are turning to the state for help to locate the person or individuals responsible for poisoning eight wolves in the eastern half of the state this year.

Oregon State Police are investigating the killing of all five members of Katherine’s pack in Union County, as well as three other wolves from other packs, the agency said in a press release Thursday.

“To my knowledge, this is the first wolf pack killed by poison in Oregon,” said Captain Stephanie Bigman of OSP in Salem. “As far as I know, there are no suspects. All investigative data have been exhausted, so we appeal to the public for help. “

The defenders of the wolves were stunned by this news.

“This is awful,” said Sristi Kamal of Wildlife Defenders in Portland. “It is clear that this is a deliberate and repeated crime.”

There are only about 170 wolves within Oregon, and the loss of eight is “so egregious,” Kamal said.

“The poisoning of Catherine’s wolf pack is tragic and disgusting,” said Sofia Ressler, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “No wolf should suffer such a fate. Horrific events like these show how much more work we have to do to coexist with these vital animals. ”

Wolves were once inhabited by most of the United States, but by the 1930s they had been exterminated in most places during government-sponsored poisoning and trapping campaigns.

More than 2,000 wolves inhabit six states in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest after animals from Canada were reintroduced to Idaho and Yellowstone National Park since 1995.

However, wolves are still absent from most of their historical range. Wildlife advocates argue that continued protection is needed so that they can continue to expand in California, Colorado, Oregon and other states.

On February 9, the Oregon State Police Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was notified that the collared Catherine wolf may have died.

The paratroopers reacted and found five dead wolves: three males and two females. The wolves were located southeast of Mount Harris, in County Union. Investigators also found a dead magpie in close proximity to the dead wolves, the agency said.

The animals were sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service forensic laboratory in Ashland to determine the cause of death.

On March 11, the State Police were informed that a death signal from an additional wolf collar had been received at the same location. Searchers found a dead she-wolf, a skunk and a magpie very close to the scene. The she-wolf has been identified as a member of the Keating pack.

In April, a federal lab released results confirming that poisoning was the cause of death for all six wolves, a skunk, and two forty.

In addition, two more collared wolves were found dead in Union County following the first incidents. In April, a deceased adult wolf from the Five Points pack was found west of Elgin, and in July, a young wolf from the Clark Creek pack was located northeast of La Grande, the county seat.

Toxicology reports have confirmed the presence of different types of venom in both of these wolves, OSP said.

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