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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: 214869

Reported Deaths: 2836
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41288617
Washington27471257
Marion24180329
Clackamas19603240
Lane14464171
Jackson12195151
Deschutes1035787
Umatilla918292
Linn607281
Yamhill496981
Klamath490279
Douglas423587
Polk421556
Josephine395874
Malheur365067
Benton338722
Jefferson245642
Coos226839
Columbia204732
Union159024
Lincoln151122
Wasco149831
Crook136824
Hood River124634
Morrow120317
Clatsop111810
Baker105717
Curry75512
Tillamook7285
Grant5577
Lake4848
Harney45111
Wallowa2086
Gilliam841
Sherman772
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3894556

Reported Deaths: 64228
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles127625424623
San Bernardino3040755236
Riverside3040604657
San Diego2906253793
Orange2787205141
Santa Clara1217672099
Sacramento1128961770
Kern1123181417
Fresno1036371736
Alameda939531272
Ventura829751041
San Joaquin760341446
Contra Costa74030830
Stanislaus650191085
Tulare50104854
Monterey44273524
San Mateo43880588
San Francisco38954561
Solano35193259
Santa Barbara35189465
Merced32814484
Sonoma31965328
Imperial28996745
Placer24530304
Kings23366248
San Luis Obispo21717264
Madera16885249
Santa Cruz16452207
Marin14589238
Yolo14574214
Butte12982203
Shasta12804242
El Dorado10774120
Napa1025281
Sutter9965115
Yuba681651
San Benito622963
Lassen586826
Tehama581566
Nevada518375
Humboldt489753
Mendocino457150
Tuolumne433473
Lake396364
Amador381648
Siskiyou252740
Glenn245727
Colusa233918
Calaveras227958
Del Norte15518
Inyo145338
Mono13125
Plumas7626
Modoc5737
Mariposa4857
Trinity4486
Sierra1240
Alpine890
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