Wallowa County has joined the late spate of illegal wolf killings. On Nov. 17, the Oregon State Police announced that OR-23, a collared wolf, was found shot in the Chesnimnus Springs area. The wolf was a breeding female and a member of the Shamrock Pack, formerly known as the Chesnimnus pack.
Two wolves in the Klamath Falls area were recently killed, OR-25 and OR-33. The species is listed as endangered in the area. In late October, a hunter also killed a wolf in self-defense in Union County.
OR-23 started as a member of the Ukiah Pack before dispersing to northern Wallowa County sometime in 2014 where it paired with a male wolf. In April 2017, OR-23 was documented as having four surviving pups.
Environmental groups have blamed the killings on recent delisting of wolves in northeastern Oregon, which they say has desensitized the public to the plight of wolves.
“Wolves in Oregon are being gunned down maliciously after wildlife officials prematurely removed state-level protections for these misunderstood animals,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Whatever you think of wolves, poaching is wrong and cowardly.”
Oregon State Police is investigating the killing and asking for the public’s help.
“Poaching of fish and wildlife, including wolves, is a problem in Oregon and will be vigorously investigated by the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division,” said Captain Jeff Samuels.
The ODFW is also asking the public to step up.
“We are upset and frustrated by the unlawful wolf killings in Oregon,” said Doug Cottam, the agency’s Wildlife Division Administrator. “Poaching of any wildlife is wrong and harmful to their conservation. Please, if you know something about any of these cases, step forward and provide information to OSP, which can be done anonymously.”