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Wolves continue their steady rebound in Oregon, report finds

Wildlife officials say that wolf population in Oregon grew to roughly 173 this past winter, a 9.5 percent increase over the year before.

Posted: Apr 21, 2021 3:17 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2021 3:41 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The population of wolves reintroduced to Oregon continued to grow into this year, according to the latest report issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Biologists counted 173 wolves in the state this past winter, a 9.5 percent increase over the previous year's population.

These annual counts are based on verified evidence of wolves, drawn from sightings, tracks, and photographs on remote cameras. But the actual number of wolves in the state is "likely higher," ODFW said, as not all wolves are located during the winter count.

ODFW documented a total of 22 packs, which describes a group of four or more wolves traveling together during the winter. The vast majority of those packs produced pups that survived through the winter. Seven other smaller groups of wolves were also documented.

There were no new packs discovered in western Oregon, though the existing western packs added several to their numbers over last year. Meanwhile, eight collared wolves dispersed from their packs — four going to other locations in Oregon, two to Idaho, one to California, and one wolf that left California for Oregon.

“While northeast Oregon continues to host majority of state’s wolf population, dispersal to other parts of Oregon and adjacent states continues,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator.


RELATED: Oregon takes over gray wolf protections after federal delisting


During the year, southern Oregon's own Rogue Pack continued to make a name for itself as the most likely to prey on livestock. The Rogue Pack alone accounted for more than half of all depredations — 16 kills throughout 2020. In total, confirmed cases of depredation in Oregon increased 94 percent last year over the year prior, when depredations dropped.

ODFW noted that, for the second year in a row, the Rogue Pack killed more livestock than all of the wolf groups in the state's eastern zone combined — even though only 13 percent of the state's wolf population resides in the western area.

Until recently, wolves in western Oregon were shielded by federal protections against lethal countermeasures, but those were recently lifted by the Trump administration.

"In all phases of wolf management, Oregon’s Wolf Plan mandates that non-lethal efforts are undertaken to address conflict before lethal removal is considered," ODFW said. "In 2020, those measures included removing attractants, hazing, electrified fladry, radio-activated guard boxes, increased human presence, range riders and other husbandry practices."

The Rogue Pack got particularly pointed attention in this regard, with state and federal wildlife staff working "extensively" to drive wolves away from livestock pastures in Klamath County. On some nights, those efforts were successful — less so on other nights, ODFW admitted.

“The personnel costs of this collaboration with USFWS, WS and the Department was significant during the four months,” said Brown. “We appreciate the work of our partners and all livestock producers for their efforts to co-exist with wolves.”

ODFW documented nine wolf deaths in 2020. Seven of those were human-caused, with four of them constituting illegal killings. Oregon State Police is still investigating some of those killings, which occurred in northeastern Oregon between Umatilla and Baker counties.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810222

Reported Deaths: 70598
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3636444159
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871372
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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