SALEM, Ore. — State agencies and wildlife conservation groups have put up a substantial reward for information on the slaying of a protected wolf in northeastern Oregon.
Oregon State Police announced that it was investigating the case last week. Fish and Wildlife troopers said that the wolf was killed in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest in Baker County around September 24. OSP confirmed that the wolf had been shot.
The wolf, wildlife officials said on Friday, was the breeding male of the Cornucopia Pack in eastern Baker County. He and the breeding female were both radio-collared and tracked by state biologists as part of Oregon's wolf monitoring program. The pair raised three pups in 2019.
"The future of the Cornucopia pack is now uncertain. For monitoring purposes, a pack is defined as four or more wolves traveling together in winter," the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. "When packs lose a breeding adult, the remaining members may stay together or they may disband, opening the territory for other wolves to move in."
Biologists won’t know the outcome until spring, according to Roblyn Brown, Wolf Program Coordinator for ODFW.
“Poaching of any wildlife is wrong and harmful to conservation,” said Brown.
Multiple conservation groups contributed toward the reward, now standing at $6,150, offered for information that leads to the responsible party.
“We are heartbroken to learn of another illegal wolf killing in Oregon,” said Amaroq Weiss, a West Coast wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope someone will come forward quickly with information to solve this case.”
"Oregon has a legal process for removing wolves if absolutely necessary,” said Wally Sykes with Northeast Oregon Ecosystems. “When criminals decide to break the law for the thrill of it and kill without reason, they need to be punished. I hope this reward will inspire some citizen to come forward with information leading to the killer.”