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Conservation groups offer $16,500 reward to solve illegal shooting death of Wallowa County wolf

Gray wolf
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Gray wolf

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Conservation groups announced Thursday a $16,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal shooting death of a 2-year-old collared female wolf in Wallowa County in early January.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Turn in Poachers (TIP) division also offers a potential $300 reward for information regarding illegal wolf killings.

The Oregon State Police reported the incident on Jan. 11, after a concerned citizen alerted them. The slain wolf, designated as OR-106 by state wildlife biologists, was found on Parsnip Creek Road, about six miles southwest of the town of Wallowa in the Sled Springs game management unit. She dispersed from the Chesnimnus Pack, whose territory is in northern Wallowa County.

“We want justice for this young wolf, who was simply seeking a mate and territory of her own before her life was cut tragically short by a bullet,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We call on the state to show its commitment to holding perpetrators accountable by having its Department of Justice launch an independent, thorough investigation into this most recent killing, and past unsolved illegal killings of Oregon’s wolves.”

Here's the rest of the release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

This new illegal shooting follows the gruesome illegal poisoning deaths of multiple wolves last year in northeast Oregon. Eight wolves from four different packs, including all members of the Catherine Pack, were poisoned in neighboring Union County, in incidents between February and July of 2021.

“The senseless killing of the young female wolf OR-106 is a crime against this animal and all who care about Oregon’s wildlife,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, an Oregon-based national wildlife advocacy nonprofit. “It is absolutely critical that the perpetrator of this crime be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“Oregonians are feeling frustrated that there doesn't seem to be enough of a deterrent to preclude these ongoing wolf killings,” said Adam Bronstein, Oregon/Nevada director of Western Watersheds Project. “Gov. Brown and other government officials need to take immediate action and start investigating these heinous crimes with vigor and resolve.”

“We call on state government and law enforcement to take seriously this devastating trend of illegal wolf killings and allocate all necessary resources to hold the criminals accountable,” said Bethany Cotton, conservation director for Cascadia Wildlands. “We ask community members to come forward with information they may have to solve these crimes and keep Oregon's rare wildlife safe.”

“When poachers get away with breaking the law it only leads to more poaching and lawlessness,” said Danielle Moser of Oregon Wild. “This is a result of wolves losing their endangered species protections coupled with a culture of poaching permissiveness. For far too long, poachers have been emboldened by those who excuse and celebrate their criminal acts without fear of consequences.”

“We are saddened to hear the tragic news of the cowardly killing of wolf OR-106, but unfortunately, we are not surprised,” said Stephanie Taylor, president of Speak for Wolves. “With 32 poached wolves in Oregon since their return and nearly zero accountability for any of the incidents, it’s clear Oregon's wildlife managers must do far more to educate the public on co-existence with native wildlife, and massively increase their efforts to hold poachers accountable. Otherwise, this ‘shoot, shovel, shut up’ culture will continue to thrive leading to even more poaching.”

“Illegally killing Oregon’s few wolves out of hatred or spite must stop,” said Kelly Peterson, Oregon senior state director at the Humane Society of the United States. “The death of OR-106 at the hands of a poacher is heartbreaking and infuriating, especially after eight of Oregon’s wolves were illegally poisoned and killed just last year. While this reward cannot bring back these iconic animals, we hope it brings these cruel actors to justice and helps to put an end to the illegal slaughter of our wolves once and for all.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Oregon State Police Sgt. Isaac Cyr through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP via mobile. Tips can also be submitted via email to TIP@state.or.us (monitored Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Background

In the past 21 years, 30 wolves have been illegally killed in Oregon, and two more were found dead under mysterious circumstances, according to authorities. Five of these wolves were found dead in Wallowa County. Arrests and convictions have been made in only three of the 32 deaths.

The Trump administration stripped federal Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the country in January 2021, including in western Oregon. Since 2011 wolves in the eastern one-third of Oregon have not had federal protections and were managed solely by the state. In 2015 the state fish and wildlife commission prematurely stripped wolves of state endangered species act protections.

Even without state or federal protections, wolves are protected under Oregon’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. Wolves may be killed only in self-defense and by Oregon’s wildlife agency staff in instances of chronic livestock predations. Individual livestock owners throughout Oregon may kill a wolf in the act of attacking livestock and, in the eastern half of the state, a wolf that is chasing livestock. Oregon does not currently allow wolf hunting or trapping seasons.

Scientific research has shown that removing protections for wolves is associated with increased illegal killings of wolves, and that for every illegally slain wolf found, another 1 to 2 wolves have been killed that will remain undiscovered.

Groups contributing pledge reward amounts are the Center for Biological Diversity, Predator Defense, Western Watersheds Project, Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, Speak for Wolves, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems and The Humane Society of the United States.

KTVZ News Team

Comments

19 Comments

  1. No one in that area wants the wolves that are foisted upon them.
    I wonder, are there are alot of wolves in Petaluma Amaroq? Have you picked up your dead livestock and pets that have been eviscerated by the predators? It’s going to take a lot more than 16000 to get the good folks of Wallowa to turn on one of their own

    1. – justifying crime and violent illegal behavior – quit pretending you are the spokesperson for people you have never met and are somehow doing something righteous

      1. Bozo orred is right. The people of Wallowa County aren’t going to turn one of their own in unless an outsider does.
        Nobody wanted the wolves up their in the first place. Whether he is a spokesperson or not it’s none of your dam business. Bummer I guess the wolf got killed illegally but if fish and game would hurry up and make a season for them then we’ll I guess you would still cry wolf.

        1. – so, you are the other spokesperson for people you don’t know, also promoting crime and violent illegal behavior – but it’s none of my damn business, nor the business of people you decided you speak for either – seems to be a gang of liars and crime promoters infecting our society –

          1. Infecting our society are outsiders thinking they know best what’s good for everybody else. Your got it its none of your dam business. You are probably one of the protesters that is alway fighting for the cause of the day. Next you will be fighting to keep the timber industry from logging areas that need it while you are sitting cozy in your nice little house what was built with timber that was logged. I can speak for who ever I choose. Gangs of liars are the enviros and hypocrites that protest for the environment while they are wearing their puffy coat while the drive their electric car that has more than a thousand pieces of plastic and used oil products to make and had to mine the earth for all the other green parts they think is earth friendly. You are just like the rest who has moved here. Not surprising

      2. I’m not justifying it. I don’t think shooting wolves should be illegal. The govt does it. I think they should sell tags. I would buy one immediately. I’m not their spokesperson (don’t assume my gender or identity you pig!) However, care to make a little wager? Let’s see if this bounty ever gets paid. What do you want to bet I’m right about this? The folks in that area will not be turning anyone in.

    2. I’m pretty sure the farmers and ranchers–which make up much of the “industry” in that area–don’t want “reintroduced” wolves messing with their stock or pets. So yeah, I think it’s a good bet that a “concerned citizen-rancher/farmer” got tired of seeing wolves brought in and decided to take matters into their own hands–you know, like how farmers and ranchers often had to do in the West when they had no support from anyone except themselves and their families. I doubt the person who shot the wolf will EVER be found.

  2. I thought the libs on hear already solved the case don’t need proof just arrest a republican and call it good. Personality I don’t care who did it I hope they don’t get caught democrat or republican.

            1. – never been perfect, but never claimed such silliness either – TTH was being jocular using fertile material you provided and it got your knickers in a twist – you could be happier and less likely to rage on just everything if you found a way to take yourself a bit less seriously – worth a try

      1. Attacking the grammatical errors. That is often the last refuge of an intellectually beaten man. When the merits of your position are indefensible, go on and attack the grammar!

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