PORTLAND, Ore.— The Oregon Wildlife Coalition, conservation partners and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering rewards totaling $26,500 for information leading to arrests and convictions following the separate killings of two wolves in Oregon.
“I’m so saddened to learn of the illegal killings of two more Oregon wolves, which add to the enormous spike in human-caused wolf mortality we’ve been seeing here the past several years,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wherever wolves live in Oregon, federally protected or not, there is no hunting of wolves allowed. Killing this wolf was illegal and also morally wrong.”
Wildlife conservation groups today announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal killing of a collared male wolf found Nov. 13 in southwestern Oregon’s Jackson County. Since the wolf was killed in a part of the state where wolves are still federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Service has offered a $5,000 reward, for a total of $15,000.
The conservation groups announced a separate $11,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal killing of a collared female wolf found Nov. 27 in northeast Oregon in Baker County.
The poaching incidents were publicly reported Dec. 5 by the Service and by Oregon State Police. The Oregon Wildlife Coalition and conservation partners have a standing reward offer to assist in prosecuting all illegal wolf killings.
“Poaching is cowardly and illegal. Poachers are stealing from all Oregonians and undermining decades of conservation efforts,” said Bethany Cotton, conservation director with Cascadia Wildlands. “We call on the public to come forward with any information that may help bring those responsible to justice and for law enforcement to redouble their efforts.”
The wolf killed in Jackson County, known as OR-125, was found dead Nov. 13 near Union Creek, east of Crater Lake. He was a member of the Indigo pack, whose territory is north of Crater Lake straddling Douglas and Klamath counties.
Authorities were alerted Nov. 27 to the second poached wolf discovered within the Keating Wildlife Management Unit about 25 miles east of Baker City. State wildlife agency officials have indicated that this female wolf, OR-95, was a member of the Cornucopia pack.
“Wolf poaching continues to be a tragic assault on Oregon values and our natural heritage,” said Danielle Moser with Oregon Wild. “Each death is a blow to the resilience and integrity of our wild landscapes.”
Since 2001 at least 34 wolves are known to have been poached across the state, with most killed in eastern Oregon. Scientific research has shown that removing protections for wolves is associated with increased illegal killings. For every illegally slain wolf found, another one to two wolves have been killed and remain undiscovered.
Anyone with information regarding the OR-125 case is urged to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or the Oregon State Police TIP line at (800) 452-7888. Callers with information on the wolf killed near Baker City should reach out only to the Oregon State Police line. Callers may remain anonymous. Reports also can be made online at https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/fw/pages/tip.aspx
Oregon wolves have had critical protections removed and then restored in recent years. The Trump administration stripped federal Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the country in January 2021, including in western Oregon. In February 2022 a federal court restored those protections.
However, since 2011 wolves in the eastern third of Oregon have not had federal protections and have been managed by the state. In 2015 the state Fish and Wildlife Commission prematurely stripped wolves of state endangered species act protections.
At last count, Oregon had a minimum of 178 wolves. Following a significant increase in poaching and agency kill actions in 2021 and 2022, Oregon’s wolf counts those years show minimal annual growth of the state wolf population, only 1% in 2021 and 1.7% in 2022. The 2023 population count is expected to be issued in April.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Cascadia Wildlands defends and restores Cascadia's wild ecosystems in the forests, in the courts and in the streets.
Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for future generations.
The Oregon Wildlife Coalition includes the Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Portland Audubon, Willamette Riverkeeper, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Voters Oregon and Western Environmental Law Center. Speak for Wolves and Greater Hells Canyon Council also contributed to the standing reward offer.