This Feb. 1, 2017 photo shows the Western gray wolf Snake River pack seen by a remote camera in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP, file)

This Feb. 1, 2017 photo shows the Western gray wolf Snake River pack seen by a remote camera in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP, file)

Oregon officials ask public help to find killers of 8 wolves

All five members of the Catherine Pack, plus three other wolves from other packs, were poisoned.

By Nicholas K. Geranios / Associated Press

Officials in Oregon are asking for public assistance to locate the person or persons responsible for poisoning eight wolves in the eastern part of the state earlier this year.

The Oregon State Police has been investigating the killing of all five members of the Catherine Pack in Union County, plus three other wolves from other packs, the agency said in a press release Thursday.

“To my knowledge this is the first wolf pack to be killed by poison in Oregon,” said Capt. Stephanie Bigman of the OSP in Salem. “To my knowledge there are no suspects. All investigative leads have been exhausted and that is why we are reaching out to the public for assistance.”

Wolf advocates were stunned by the news.

“This is horrific,” said Sristi Kamal of Defenders of Wildlife in Portland. “This is quite clearly an intentional and repeat offense.”

Oregon has only about 170 wolves within its borders, and the loss of eight “is so egregious,” Kamal said.

“The poisoning of the Catherine wolf pack is tragic and disgusting” said Sophia Ressler, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “No wolf should have to suffer such a fate. Awful events like this show how much more work is needed for us to coexist with these vitally important animals.”

Wolves once ranged most of the U.S. but were wiped out in most places by the 1930s under government-sponsored poisoning and trapping campaigns.

More than 2,000 wolves occupy six states in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest after animals from Canada were reintroduced in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park starting in 1995.

However, wolves remain absent across most of their historical range. Wildlife advocates argue that continued protections are needed so they can continue to expand in California, Colorado, Oregon and other states.

The Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police was alerted on Feb. 9 that a collared wolf from the Catherine Pack was possibly deceased.

Troopers responded and located five deceased wolves, three males, and two females. The wolves were located southeast of Mount Harris, within Union County. Investigators also found a dead magpie in the vicinity of the dead wolves, the agency said.

The animals were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab in Ashland to determine the cause of death.

On March 11, State Police were told a mortality signal from an additional wolf collar had been received in the same general location. Searchers found a deceased female wolf, a skunk, and a magpie all very close to the scene. The female wolf was determined to be a member of the Keating Pack.

In April, the federal lab released findings consistent with poisoning as the cause of death for all six wolves, the skunk, and two magpies.

In addition, two more collared wolves were found deceased in Union County after the initial incidents. In April, a deceased adult male wolf from the Five Points Pack was located west of Elgin, and in July a young female wolf from the Clark Creek Pack was located northeast of La Grande, the county seat.

Toxicology reports confirmed the presence of differing types of poison in both those wolves, the OSP said.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Skiers make their way uphill under idle lift chairs at the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area as fresh snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Several inches of snow fell Wednesday, and the area shown was scheduled to open to skiers and begin lift operation later in the day. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Snoqualmie ski resort cuts some operations after losing power

For Monday skiing, the resort’s website said they have “less than a partial supply of energy.”

FILE - In this April 15, 2019, file photo, a vendor makes change for a marijuana customer at a cannabis marketplace in Los Angeles. An unwelcome trend is emerging in California, as the nation's most populous state enters its fifth year of broad legal marijuana sales. Industry experts say a growing number of license holders are secretly operating in the illegal market — working both sides of the economy to make ends meet. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
In California pot market, a hazy line between legal and not

Industry insiders say the practice of working simultaneously in the legal and illicit markets is a financial reality.

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen at dusk in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Supreme Court to hear case of praying ex-football coach

The former Seattle-area coach was removed from his job because he wouldn’t stop praying on the field.

Joe Kent, candidate for U.S. Representative in Washington's 3rd Congressional District, leads a "Rally Against Forced Quarantine" outside a meeting of the Washington State Board of Health in Tumwater on Wednesday. (Joe Kent For Congress / Facebook)
No, Washington state isn’t forcing people into quarantine camps

The state’s health board debunked rumors from social media users, politicians and conservative pundits.

FILE - Bill Gates speaks during the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, London, Tuesday, Oct, 19, 2021. A small city in the top U.S. coal-mining state of Wyoming will be home to a Bill Gates-backed experimental nuclear power project near a coal-fired power plant that will soon close, officials announced Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Microsoft to review workplace harassment, including Bill Gates allegations

One engineer wrote in a letter that she had a sexual relationship with Gates over several years.

Dog rescued from collapsed house 6 days after landslide

The black Labrador named Sammy was alert and wagging her tail as Seattle firefighters pulled her from the rubble.

U.S. 2 at Stevens Pass reopened to traffic Thursday morning. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Finally, U.S. 2 at Stevens Pass reopens for travel

Heavy snow and avalanche risks closed the pass Jan. 6. Snoqualmie, Blewett and White passes were also open.

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

Guard troops will help Providence in Everett, among other places, deal with a surge in virus patients and staffing shortages.

The Washington state Senate is seen on the first day of the 60-day legislative session on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 in Olympia, Wash. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of lawmakers are allowed on the chamber floor, with much of the chamber's work being done in a hybrid remote fashion. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
State senate OKs bigger penalty for election worker harassment

Violations potentially could result in a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.

Brock Hoenes
Washington state wildlife manager accused of poaching

He allegedly illegally killed an animal in Ferry County, then reported the incident, calling it a “mistake.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee gives his annual State of the State address, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Due to cautions against COVID-19, Inslee gave his speech in the State Reception Room and it was shown by streaming video to lawmakers meeting remotely. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Gov. Inslee calls on lawmakers for ‘big’ and ‘bold’ action

The governor focused on the pandemic’s impact on kids, the climate, and homelessness.

Kaleb Cole in 2018. (ProPublica)
Neo-Nazi with Arlington ties gets federal prison time

Kaleb Cole, 26, was sentenced to seven years for leading a campaign to threaten journalists and Jewish activists.