US Fish and Wildlife Service announces $50,000 award for information
Today, Oregon State Police and the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $50,000 reward for information regarding three gray wolves found dead in Klamath County. The release does not specify whether these wolves were poached but asks for information to be sent to the Oregon State Police’s Turn in Poachers hotline.
Most wolf poachings in Oregon have been identified by the presence of wolves wearing GPS tracking collars giving off a “mortality signal” which has helped locate their remains. Only a small number of Oregon’s wolves wear these tracking collars.
“The deaths of these gray wolves, including a breeding female, is a devastating blow to the recovery of this iconic species in Oregon," said Danielle Moser, Wildlife Program Manager for Oregon Wild. “We hope that the significant reward amount encourage anyone with information about these presumed poachings to come forward and help see that justice is done for this reprehensible act.”
Since the beginning of 2023, 5 known wolves have been poached. This number does not include more wolves suspected of being poached, as revealed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife during a December presentation before the ODFW Commission.
“It is undeniable that the true number of wolf poaching is many times higher than what is discovered and investigated by law enforcement,” continued Moser.
In order to combat this pervasive poaching problem, the Oregon Wildlife Coalition, of which Oregon Wild is a founding member, created an Anti-Poaching Reward Fund. Oregon Wildlife Coalition and its partners contribute $10,000 to this reward. The program complements the already existing TIP (Turn In Poachers) program in which members of the public are incentivized to report any illegal or suspicious wildlife activity to the Oregon State Police. Specifically, the Oregon Wildlife Coalition program expands the list of species eligible for a reward to include a broader list of mammals, birds, and imperiled wildlife species.
The known wolf population of Oregon is 178. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is expected to release an updated the annual wolf report this spring. So far, we know that since the beginning of 2023:
Known Poaching: 5
ODFW killed: 16
Transferred to Colorado: 10
Killed in self-defense: 1
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.