For Immediate Release

ODFW 2017 Wolf Report: Population stagnant, killing increased

Since 2015 delisting, population stalled due to poaching and agency killings

Steve Pedery,
503-283-6343 x212

April 12, 2018

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today released the 2017 Annual Wolf Report. The release comes in the same week that the agency stunned the public by rushing to issue kill permits for wolves to a livestock owner who Oregon Public Broadcasting reporterd had made multiple attempts to defraud the state's compensation program in the past.

Oregon Wild Executive Director, Sean Stevens, had this comment:

"The wolf population is stagnant because poachers and ODFW agents are killing more wolves - this despite the fact that ODFW admits livestock depredations are down from last year. It demands accountability from an agency that insists on killing more wolves every year."

Notable facts from the 2017 Annual Report:

  • 124 known wolves is an increase of 12 known wolves since 2016. But last year ODFW said they must have missed lots of wolves due to weather. Had that been true, the population should have increased far more dramatically. That means that since wolves were prematurely delisted by the state two years ago, the population has only grown by 14 animals. There has been no increase in the number of breeding pairs in that time.
  • Are wolves really expanding in western Oregon? After several poaching incidents, there is still only one breeding pair of wolves in western Oregon and the number of packs actually decreased.
  • 12 of 13 known wolf mortalities were caused by humans:
    • 4 were poached, 2 were killed in controversial circumstances, 1 was “accidentally taken” by Wildlife Services, five wolves were killed by the agency, and one died due to brain inflammation from an unknown agent.
    • While ODFW quickly publicizes incidents in which wolves are blamed for attacking livestock, the agency again withheld information from the public until this report including the “unintentional killing of a wolf pup” by a sheepherders dog.
  • Of the state’s 1.3 million cows over 55,000 were lost to things like weather, disease, and domestic dogs in the last year for which we have statistics. Wolves were responsible for only 11 lost calves. In response, the state issued kill orders for 10 wolves.
    • 1 llama, 1 alpaca, and some domestic fowl were also lost to wolves. No kill orders were issued in those cases.
    • Full-market value compensation is available for all those losses and even livestock that go missing in wolf country. In 2017, the state paid out $15,227 for known losses and over twice that amount ($34,942) for questionable claims of “missing” livestock.
  • The overwhelming majority (nearly 75%) of investigations into livestock losses where wolves are suspected turn out not to be wolves.

Oregon Wild is encouraging Oregonians to contact Governor Brown and urge her to hold ODFW accountable for their mismangement of wolves.