Gray wolf shot, killed in eastern Oregon
Endangered - The carcass was found north of La Grande; shooting the animals is illegal
An endangered gray wolf was found shot and killed in late May in a forested area north of La Grande, apparently the fifth known wolf to arrive in Oregon since the species was returned to nearby Idaho more than a decade ago.
The adult female animal was badly decomposed and was only recently positively identified as a wolf by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics laboratory in Ashland, officials said.
The wolf was not wearing a radio collar, but DNA analysis confirmed it was related to other wild wolves in Idaho.
It did not appear to have been the same wolf videotaped in Wallowa County last summer. That animal was black and the dead animal was a more typical gray-brown, said Russ Morgan of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Counting that videotaped wolf, the wolf found dead would be the fifth known wolf to make it to Oregon. The first was captured near John Day in 1999 and returned to Idaho, another was hit by a car on Interstate 84 and another was found illegally shot between Ukiah and Pendleton.
A private citizen found the carcass of the most recent wolf on private land north of Elgin. Officials recovered it May 25. It may have been dead for roughly a week before that, Morgan said.
Authorities had been investigating scattered reports and sightings of a wolf in roughly the same area between Elgin and Troy, along the breaks of the Grande Ronde River, since last November, he said. All of those reports involved a single animal.
Biologists have long expected that more wolves from Idaho will find their way to Oregon and eventually begin multiplying.
Wolves are protected by Endangered Species acts at the state and federal level and shooting them is illegal.
Federal law enforcement agents request that anyone who may have information regarding the death of this or any other wolf contact them immediately at 503-682-6131.Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689; michaelmilstein@ news.oregonian.com Read the original story