For Immediate Release

2021 Report Shows a Wolf Population in Crisis

Middle fork wolf crosses the snow
April 19, 2022

Today, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released its 2021 Annual Wolf Report. The summary of the report paints a dire picture of wolf recovery, with decreasing packs and breeding pairs, and a population increase of only two wolves. The report only contains 2021 information and does not include the spree of wolf poachings disclosed over the last four months of 2022, and others whose details may not be released to the public.

“This report shows Oregon’s wolf population in crisis,” said Danielle Moser, Wildlife Program Coordinator for Oregon Wild. “Human-caused mortality is the number one factor prohibiting wolf recovery. The deaths in the report are only known mortalities and there are certainly many more unaccounted for deaths and poachings of uncollared wolves. This report unequivocally  demonstrates the consequences of politicians prematurely stripping endangered species protections from wolves.”

  • Population: 175. Only up from 173
  • Breeding pairs: 16. Down from 17 in 2020
  • East vs West: 23 wolves in W. Oregon. 152 in Eastern Oregon
  • Total mortality: 26 (21 human-caused) 
  • Known Poaching: 8 
  • Agency killed: 8 (Lookout Mtn Pack)
  • Other mortality: 4 killed by vehicles. 1 shot by livestock operator. 1 wolf killed by other wolves. 4 wolves died of unknown/inconclusive causes. 
  • Growth rates: 2021 (under 2 %), 2020 (9.5%), 2019 (15%), 2018 (10%), 2017 (11%), 2016 (2%)

 According to numerous studies:

  • Attitudes to wolves became more negative or did not improve when protections for wolves were reduced
  • Poaching was higher when wolf protections were reduced, measured by individual survival rates 
  • Poaching was higher when wolf protections were reduced, measured by wolf population dynamics 


A federal district court struck down a 2020 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February that removed federal protections from gray wolves across much of the U.S. In Oregon, that ruling only covered wolves west of Highway 395. Wolves east of Highway 395 lack federal protections and state Endangered Species Protections since the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission removed them in 2015 and the Oregon legislature blocked judicial and scientific review of that decision.