UPDATE AS OF JUNE 9: ODFW confirmed another calf killed by wolves on June 4. As of June 9, no wolves have been taken by Wildlife Services.
ODFW has expanded the area where Wildlife Services may kill the wolves by approx. 15 square miles (still limited to private pastureland currently inhabited by livestock) and extended the authorization to kill two wolves through Friday, June 18.
ENTERPRISE, Ore.—ODFW is authorizing USDA Wildlife Services to kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack, which are responsible for five confirmed livestock losses in the past few weeks.
Wildlife Services has been authorized to kill only two uncollared wolves. This selective removal is meant to protect the alpha male and alpha female, Oregon’s only known breeding pair of wolves at this time. Protecting the collared wolves will also help ODFW, USDA Wildlife Services and ranchers continue to monitor wolf activity. (The alpha female was collared in July 2009 and the alpha male was collared in February 2010.)
ODFW confirmed two additional wolf-caused livestock kills in the upper Wallowa Valley area on Saturday, May 29. (The other three confirmations occurred May 6, May 21 and May 28.)
The lethal action is aimed at killing wolves that are showing an interest in livestock, not wolves simply in the area, and will be limited to an area where three of the confirmed livestock kills are clustered. Under the terms of the authorization, the wolves can be killed a) only within three miles of three clustered locations with confirmed livestock losses by wolves and b) only on privately-owned pasture currently inhabited by livestock. ODFW’s authorization will be valid until June 11, 2010.
Through these specific terms, ODFW aims to protect the breeding pair and the Imnaha pack’s den site, where the alpha female may be caring for new pups. (Wolf pups are typically born in mid-April, though ODFW has not visually observed any new pups this year.)
The authorization for lethal removal is consistent with the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and associated Oregon Administrative Rules, which guide ODFW responses to livestock losses by wolves. After non-lethal measures have been used and there are two or more losses on adjacent properties, the department may authorize its own personnel or Wildlife Services to kill wolves.
The non-lethal measures tried include removal of livestock carcasses and bone piles that can attract wolves; radio telemetry monitoring of wolves; use of radio activated guard box; aerial hazing of wolves; the hiring of a wolf technician to haze wolves and monitor wolf activity nightly; and increased presence around livestock.
ODFW has also issued two additional “caught in the act” permits to the landowners with losses confirmed on Saturday, May 29. The permits give landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing livestock. Last week, ODFW issued five of these permits.
The Wolf Plan, first adopted in 2005, is currently undergoing a five-year review. Ranchers, conservationists and others with comments about the process for responding to livestock losses or other issues may provide public comment.
To comment, please send an email to ODFW.Comments@state.or.us. Comments received by June 30, 2010 will be considered for the draft evaluation, which will include any recommended changes to the plan. The draft evaluation should be available for preliminary review by the public in August. ODFW will present the results of the evaluation and any recommendations to amend the plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission (the state’s policy making body for fish and wildlife issues) at their Oct. 1 meeting in Bend.
For more information on wolves in Oregon, visit