SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Reward for tips in Oregon wolf poisoning case jumps to $36K

Oregon State Police said on Thursday that the poisonings had wiped out an entire pack of protected wolves in February and subsequent incidents likely killed several more in the months that followed — possibly totaling as many as eight.

Posted: Dec 6, 2021 2:55 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2021 2:59 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — The reward for information leading to a conviction in the poisoning deaths of at least six gray wolves in eastern Oregon has increased to $36,000 as more more conservation groups join an outcry for the culprit to be found and taken into custody.

Oregon State Police said on Thursday that the poisonings had wiped out an entire pack of protected wolves in February and subsequent incidents likely killed several more in the months that followed — possibly totaling as many as eight.

“We were heartbroken to hear of these horrific and inhumane killings, and condemn in the strongest terms this atrocity,” said Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies. “But this slaughter did not occur in a vacuum. We hope to see those responsible for the illegal killings brought to justice."

Wolves of the Rockies, Trap Free Montana, and The 06 Legacy Project announced an additional $10,000 reward in the case on Monday. An original $26,000 reward was offered by the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Oregon Wild, Predator Defense and WildEarth Guardians.

"Lastly, we urge the federal government to take action to protect the species by restoring wolves to the Endangered Species List,” Cooke continued.

Oregon State Police said that its Fish & Wildlife troopers continue to investigate the poisonings, but have exhausted all leads in the case. Now the agency is asking that anyone with information of these incidents contact OSP through the OSP TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (677) or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us, reference Case #SP21-033033.

OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers were first alerted on February 9 that a dead, collared wolf may have been discovered in Union County, southeast of Mount Harris. Troopers arrived to find five dead wolves — three males and two females. The investigation ultimately concluded that these wolves were from the Catherine Pack. All known members of the pack were among the dead.

Searching the area by helicopter, investigators also found a dead magpie. All five wolves and the magpie were picked up and taken to the US Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Lab in Ashland to determine their cause of death.

But this was not the end of the Union County discoveries. In March, troopers were notified of a wolf collar emitting a mortality signal from the same general area. A search of the location found a dead female wolf, a skunk, and another magpie all close to the scene. The wolf was one that had dispersed from the Keating Pack. All three creatures were sent to the Ashland lab for testing.

"Fish and Wildlife Troopers were initially hampered in investigating the scene due to snow levels and inclement weather," OSP said. "Troopers continued searching over the next few weeks as snow continued to melt and located evidence of suspected poisoning. The evidence was submitted for testing and analysis."

In April, the USFWS lab produced examination reports, finding that the deaths of all six wolves, the skunk, and the two magpies were consistent with poisoning. The results also confirmed that the evidence OSP had found was indeed a poisonous substance, although the agency did not reveal what kind of poison it was.

Still, the grisly discoveries weren't over. Between April and July, two more collared wolves were found dead in Union County — an adult male from the Five Points Pack found west of Elgin, and a young female from the Clark Creek Pack found northeast of La Grande. In both cases the cause of death was not readily apparent, but toxicology tests confirmed different types of poison in both wolves.

"Based upon the type of poison and locations, it was determined the death of the young female wolf may be related to the earlier six poisonings," OSP said.

While gray wolf populations in Oregon have been rebounding steadily over the past several years, wolf killings have also increased sharply — both sanctioned and unsanctioned. In August, state wildlife officials had multiple members of the Lookout Mountain Pack killed in Baker County after concluding that the pack presented "significant risk" to livestock. In 2020, also in Baker County, OSP was investigating the unlawful killing of several wolves.

“In 21 years, 31 Oregon wolves have been poisoned, shot or trapped illegally, but only three of those instances have resulted in convictions,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scientists who study illegal wolf killings conclude that for every poached wolf discovered, there are likely two or three more that will never be found. The state has started to take poaching more seriously, but it’s not enough. People kill wolves because they hate them or fear them, and there’s never been an adequate public-education program in Oregon or any state to combat this misplaced mindset.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 570892

Reported Deaths: 5936
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah94163940
Washington68918461
Marion55435570
Clackamas49836458
Lane44086397
Deschutes37530225
Jackson34484417
Linn20528221
Umatilla19500190
Douglas16386323
Yamhill13914168
Josephine13233291
Polk11966115
Benton1128646
Klamath11286179
Coos8563128
Malheur697096
Columbia599667
Jefferson587971
Lincoln530462
Crook467262
Union415665
Wasco392050
Clatsop369737
Tillamook293554
Hood River286638
Baker274440
Curry260141
Morrow256926
Grant137418
Harney130535
Lake116823
Wallowa99213
Sherman2333
Gilliam2254
Wheeler1722
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 7691930

Reported Deaths: 78616
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles249409728480
San Diego6675684559
Riverside5351265623
San Bernardino5138486267
Orange5098915953
Santa Clara2579941993
Sacramento2477782623
Alameda2149391575
Fresno2010802429
Kern1961251974
Contra Costa1628091091
Ventura1556551256
San Joaquin1467261960
Stanislaus1156521517
San Francisco109859702
Tulare1071131211
San Mateo101729647
Santa Barbara72722589
Monterey70370651
Sonoma70038432
Solano67327391
Placer58374513
Merced57147727
Imperial52057820
San Luis Obispo45057385
Kings43195396
Santa Cruz35593237
Madera33030336
Butte32484350
Yolo32382273
Shasta30590512
Marin30486253
El Dorado24845179
Napa20803111
Sutter18472199
Humboldt15471129
Yuba14050103
Nevada13685112
Tehama12228142
Mendocino11943111
San Benito1115391
Tuolumne997991
Lassen899459
Lake8639118
Amador706473
Unassigned63543
Calaveras600695
Siskiyou580162
Glenn547039
Del Norte436843
Inyo388050
Colusa384021
Mono28264
Plumas244912
Mariposa234519
Trinity116719
Modoc8626
Sierra2760
Alpine1190
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 39°
Grants Pass
Mostly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Klamath Falls
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 26°
Few showers on the westside today, stagnant weather begins tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events