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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: 189162

Reported Deaths: 2514
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37544577
Washington25097229
Marion21585304
Clackamas16908209
Lane12676145
Jackson10649132
Deschutes846573
Umatilla812184
Linn473067
Yamhill436875
Klamath421861
Polk367852
Malheur349061
Josephine329068
Douglas320570
Benton300019
Jefferson215033
Coos204232
Columbia168526
Union143923
Lincoln136720
Wasco136428
Hood River117430
Morrow109815
Crook104520
Clatsop9668
Baker93814
Curry6409
Tillamook6323
Grant5014
Lake4437
Harney3338
Wallowa1805
Sherman581
Gilliam571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3753173

Reported Deaths: 62154
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123474623977
Riverside2988724576
San Bernardino2963244677
San Diego2773233716
Orange2705694992
Santa Clara1186982084
Kern1088871367
Sacramento1040581670
Fresno1014911680
Alameda874071541
Ventura808121011
San Joaquin727841384
Contra Costa68279803
Stanislaus617761053
Tulare49514837
Monterey43506381
San Mateo41755567
San Francisco36577543
Santa Barbara34261453
Solano32698249
Merced31701454
Sonoma29951318
Imperial28295720
Kings22933246
Placer22532290
San Luis Obispo21243260
Madera16423242
Santa Cruz16062207
Marin14009228
Yolo13846209
Shasta12042226
Butte11907198
El Dorado10073111
Napa983381
Sutter9398111
Yuba621344
San Benito604663
Lassen569624
Tehama554558
Nevada467175
Tuolumne411564
Mendocino405948
Humboldt391539
Amador365047
Lake345843
Glenn238025
Colusa222416
Siskiyou215122
Calaveras211153
Inyo142538
Del Norte13637
Mono12794
Plumas7046
Modoc4944
Mariposa4457
Trinity3995
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned450
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