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Conservation groups offer reward for info on recent wolf killings in Oregon

A wolf in a snowy clearing with trees in the background.
Photo of a single gray wolf caught on remote camera March, 2020 in southeastern Lane County within the Willamette National Forest. The wolf is within the Indigo AKWA, but may be separate from the Indigo Pack

Two wolves were illegally killed in November and conservation groups are offering rewards totaling $26,500 for information leading to arrests of those responsible.

A female wolf was found shot dead in Baker County on Nov. 27. Previously, on Nov 13, a wolf known as OR-125 was found dead east of Crater Lake. Hunting wolves is illegal statewide, and wolves are federally protected in Western Oregon.

Bethany Cotton is Conservation Director with Cascadia Wildlands in Eugene. She said OR-125 was part of a fairly new pack.

“A member of the Indigo pack which was a quite small pack that had been present in Lane County and now Jackson County in an area of the state that has been absent wolves for decades,” Cotton said. “So it’s a real blow to wolf recovery in the more western portions of the state.”

Cotton says another member of that pack was hit by a car earlier this year.

“So that probably means the end of that pack, which is really unfortunate.” she said.

Cotton said there’s a lot of misinformation about wolves.

“If you look at the science, they’re really important to healthy, thriving ecosystems. They provide benefits to other species,” Cotton said. “It really is a tragedy when wolves are killed, and specifically when they’re killed by the cowardly act that is poaching.”

Wildlife conservation groups are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal killing of the collared male wolf found Nov. 13 in southwestern Oregon’s Jackson County. Since the wolf was killed in a part of the state where wolves are still federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Service has offered a $5,000 reward, for a total of $15,000.

The conservation groups announced a separate $11,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal killing of the collared female wolf found Nov. 27 in northeast Oregon in Baker County.

The poaching incidents were publicly reported Dec. 5 by the Service and by Oregon State Police. The Oregon Wildlife Coalition and conservation partners have a standing reward offer to assist in prosecuting all illegal wolf killings.

Anyone with information regarding the OR-125 case can contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or the Oregon State Police TIP line at (800) 452-7888. Callers with information on the wolf killed near Baker City should reach out only to the Oregon State Police line. Callers may remain anonymous. Reports also can be made online at https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/fw/pages/tip.aspx

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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