For Immediate Release

Oregon Wild Statement on Wallowa County Wolf Deaths

Today, the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division requested assistence from the public in investigating the deaths of two Wallowa County wolves. The Sled Springs pair, one of which was collared, were found 50 yards from each other. Oregon Wild released the following statement in response to the incident:

OR21 Courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

While we don’t know a lot about the death of this wolf pair, their proximity – 50 yards away from each other – is definitely a cause for suspicion. Wolves have been killed illegally in Oregon before, and there is a very vocal minority that enthusiastically encourages it. We hope for a vigorous investigation from the Oregon State Police to discover if this was a deliberate act of poaching an endangered animal and, if so, who is responsible. Washington just fined a man $100 for shooting an endangered wolf. Slap on the wrist punishment is part of what emboldens people to think they can take the law into their own hands. We hope Oregon will mete out more appropriate punishment if it is determined that there was foul play. 

This incident also comes at a crossroads for the future of Oregon’s wolves. Next month, the ODFW Commission will be considering whether or not to remove grays wolves from the state endangered species list. Their population is still small, and the death of even a few wolves – either naturally or from persistent human threats – can have a major impact on the success of their recovery in the state. This incident speaks to the need for continuing protections.

The information the public receives is also telling: Oregon is home to home to 195,000 sheep and over 1.3 million cows, 70,000 of which die before heading to the slaughter house every year in non-wolf related circumstances. We appreciate ODFW's diligence in generating detailed reports on suspected wolf depredations on livestock, but the misinformation about wolves that is still rampant in some parts of Oregon suggests that the agency could still do far more to educate Oregonians about wolves and their place on the landscape.

The Oregon State Police is seeking the public's help and requesting anyone who may have information regarding this incident to contact Senior Trooper Kreg Coggins at 541-426-3049 or call the Turn In Poachers Hotline at 1-800-452-788 or Turn In Poachers E-Mail TIP@state.or.us.