Death of Five Protected Oregon Wolves Under Investigation
Oregon State Police officers discovered five dead wolves in Oregon’s Union County last month – the cause of death is unknown.
On February 9, a wolf’s GPS collar indicated a mortality signal, Oregon State Police said in an email yesterday when asked about it by The Associated Press.
Arriving officers found a total of five wolves dead. The incident is under investigation, and the wolves’ remains were taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) forensic lab to determine the cause of death.
On January 4, 2021, the USFWS formally removed most gray wolves in the lower 48 from the Endangered Species List, turning management over to state fish and wildlife agencies, including the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Before the nationwide delisting of gray wolves, the iconic predators were federally protected in the state’s western two-thirds. East of Highways 395-78-95, wolves were protected by state law alone since the federal government turned management over to ODFW in 2011.
Despite shifts in management, wolves currently remain protected throughout the state. Oregon’s known wolf count was 158 at the end of 2019. The 2020 count is happening now, and updated numbers will be available next month.