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Oregon’s wolf population shrinks from 23 to 17

An inquiry into the status of Oregon's confirmed wolf population raises as many questions as it answers.

By Cassandra Profita
OPB Ecotrope

How big is Oregon’s wolf population? It certainly depends on who you ask. But as of today, the official wolf count in Oregon is 17, down from 23 in April. Officials can only account for four of these lost wolves: Two were killed by wildlife officials to protect livestock, one died after being collared, and one hasn’t been seen in a month and could have moved out of eastern Oregon. Where are the other two?

Michelle Dennehy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said it’s normal for wolf populations to drop in the winter and rise in the spring as new pups are born. In fact, she says biologists believe eastern Oregon’s Imnaha pack has pups this year. They haven’t been seen yet, though. She said wolves can die of natural causes, and they sometimes kill each other. She also said the one missing wolf that could have moved into a new area may have taken another wolf along with it.

The official wolf count of 17 includes eight wolves in the Imnaha pack (one or more of which will likely be killed to protect livestock), six wolves in the Wenaha pack, and three wolves in the new Walla Walla pack.


Click here to learn more about wolves and wolf recovery in Oregon.

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