A $12,600 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the poaching of a 1.5-year-old female wolf in Baker County, Oregon, on or about October 29th.
“Oregon’s small wolf population faces an increasingly large poaching problem that could affect whether these incredible animals fully recover here,” Amaroq Weiss, a senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity,said in a statement. “With federal protections disappearing soon, we fear these two recent wolf poachings could become just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got to crack down on these illegal killings.”
The slain wolf, found in the territory of the Pine Creek pack, was discovered by an elk hunter who reported the killing to the Oregon State Police. According to law enforcement, the wolf was illegally shot off Forest Service Road 3990 in the Grouse Flat area of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, about eight miles northeast of Halfway, Oregon.
“It is clear that we need to take a new approach toward the lawless disregard some have toward Oregon’s wildlife,” said Danielle Moser, wildlife program coordinator for Oregon Wild. “Our current system is not up to the task of bringing criminals to justice. This culture of poaching permissiveness, plus the recent decision by the Trump administration to remove federal protections for wolves, puts wolf recovery in Oregon in jeopardy.”
A little more than a month ago, on or about September 24th, the breeding male wolf of the Cornucopia pack was also found shot dead by poachers. Conservation groups and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have offered a reward of $12,300 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible in that case. Law enforcement has not indicated whether they believe the two killings are connected.
“The killing of a second Oregon wolf within the last several weeks is an absolute outrage,” said Executive Director Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. “It is critical that this criminal be brought to justice.”
Since 2015, there have been 17 wolves found dead in Oregon, including the two from the recent incidents. Up to 16 of these cases have been investigated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as poachings. Thirteen of the wolves were illegally shot, one was poisoned, and the breeding male and female of the Sled Springs pack were found dead together under suspicious circumstances. An additional pup was found dead; the pup’s cause of death could not be determined.
Arrests and convictions have been made in only two of these instances.
As previously reported by WAN, the Trump administration announced last week that it is removing federal Endangered Species Act protections from the gray wolf across most of the country, including western Oregon. Since 2011, wolves in the eastern one-third of Oregon have not had federal protections and have been managed solely by the state.
“At a time when the Trump administration is revoking federal protection for wolves, poaching in Oregon in 2020 remains an ongoing threat to the recovery of wolves in the West,” said Stephanie Taylor, program director for Northwest Animal Rights Network. “In the last five years, we’ve watched an increase in poaching of wolves, and in response, Pacific Northwest states have continued to pull the rug out from wolves time and again. We simply do not trust these states to manage wolves for recovery at the state level.”