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
  • Thursday, December 2, 2021 12:17pm
  • Northwest

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

The Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, aerial photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a diesel spill off the west coast of Washington state's San Juan Island after a 49-foot (15-meter) fishing vessel sank with an estimated 2,600 gallons (9,854 liters) of fuel on board. A Good Samaritan rescued all five crew members on the Aleutian Isle as the vessel was sinking near Sunset Point, the Coast Guard's 13th District Pacific Northwest district in Seattle and KIRO-TV reported. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
Coast Guard responds to small oil spill near San Juan Island

A Good Samaritan rescued all crew members on the Aleutian Isle as the vessel was sinking Saturday.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
West Seattle Bridge to reopen after yearslong closure

The bridge will open Sunday, Sept. 18., providing weary West Seattle travelers with a beacon of hope.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle hospital to refuse some patients due to capacity

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily stop accepting less acute patients.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Red Flag Warning issued for eastern Snohomish County

The warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m.

X
Washington ferries to get $38 million to improve services

The money from the Federal Highway Administration will be used to improve the ferry service.

FILE - The Boeing 787 Dreamliner after its landing at Le Bourget airport, east of Paris, upon its presentation for the first time at the 49th Paris Air Show at the airport, Tuesday June 21, 2011. Federal regulators said Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, that they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, clearing the way for the company to resume deliveries to airline customers “in the coming days.” (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FAA clears Boeing to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliner

Federal regulators said they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the plane’s production.

RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT STATE - This photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows smoke from a wildfire burning south of Lind, Wash. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Sheriff's officials are telling residents in the town of Lind in eastern Washington to evacuate because of a growing wildfire south of town that was burning homes. (Washington State Department of Transportation via AP)
Washington town told to leave due to wildfire, 10 homes lost

An entire eastern Washington town was being evacuated Thursday because of a growing wildfire.

An EA-18G Growler taxis down the airstrip on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the squadron’s welcome home ceremony in August 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Wood/U.S. Navy)
Judge rejects Navy environmental review of Whidbey Island Growler jet expansion

A judge ruled the Navy violated federal law in an environmental study of expanded Whidbey Island jet operations.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle ends COVID hazard pay for grocery store workers

The now repealed policy had required grocery stores to pay employees an additional $4 per hour.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington judge overturns insurance rate credit scoring ban

The state rule prohibited insurers from using credit scoring to set rates for auto, homeowner and renter insurance.

A damaged Cathlamet ferry sits at the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle, Thursday morning, July 28, 2022. Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday in Seattle, damaging the vessel. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Ferry in Seattle damaged after crash into terminal

Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday.

King County map logo
King County OKs free transit for youth

People age 18 and under will ride buses, water taxis and streetcars for free in King County starting Sept. 1.