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Oregon Officials Use Wolf Mother to Betray Her Family, Slaughter Three Wolf Pups to Protect Cows

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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) officials announced that they killed the three youngest members of the Lookout Mt pack to protect cows. The wolves, a yearling and two six-month old pups, were shot from a helicopter.

The Lookout Mt pack, once numbering 11 wolves, has been reduced to at most three wolves – the radio-collared mother and up to two of her children. ODFW officials killed the breeding male, a yearling, and a five month old pup in September, after the shooting of two wolf pups in August did not decrease livestock attacks on cattle in the area.

Killing Wolves Does Not Reduce Conflict

Science shows that killing a wolf can increase the risk that wolves will prey on livestock in the future. It is counterproductive and unsustainable. Additional research also suggests that the killing of wolves can increase the risk to nearby farms, providing further evidence for the ineffectiveness of the so-called “lethal control” policy approach.

Wildlife managers across the West trap and kill wolves, cougars, and coyotes, and other predators and lethal control has become more common for wolves in Oregon and Washington as their populations have grown. But many scientists contend there’s little good evidence for the effectiveness of those efforts.

Under Oregon’s Wolf Plan rules, livestock producers must be using and document non-lethal methods to deter wolves before lethal control can be considered. Also, there can be no identified circumstances on the property (such as bone piles or carcasses) that could be attracting wolves.

Known resident wolf activity areas in December 2020. Courtesy of ODFW, 2020 Annual Wolf Report.

Blind Betrayal: Tracking Collars Lead Sharpshooters to Unsuspecting Wolf Families

ODFW’s initial kill order, issued in August, specifically targeted the uncollared members of the Lookout Mt pack – the children. The department stated that by killing the pups, they would reduce the number of juvenile wolves to feed and the parents would hopefully turn to wild food sources instead of the domestic livestock grazing in the rugged lands of northeastern Oregon.

But how does one locate elusive, wild animals that are not fitted with tracking devices? By forcing the collared parents to unknowingly betray their children. Juvenile wolves do not stray far from their parents – locate the parents using the data transmitted by their collars and officials can easily locate the pups. This deceitful use of tracking devices, often touted as a conservation tool and way to collect data about a state-endangered species, resulted in the death of the collared breeding male and two of his children. The mother, fitted with a GPS collar, has been spared to serve as a Judas wolf.

Judas wolves are condemned to a life of constant loss and terror – these collared wolves are used to lead government killers to their families, but they are left alive while the rest of their pack is killed. The government can then use those same wolves in following years to locate their new family members and kill them, thus repeating a vicious cycle.

The breeding female, already grappling with the loss of four of her children and her mate, will undoubtedly redouble her efforts to protect and provide for her remaining children. As she navigates her changed world, acting as a guidepost for her children, she is unknowingly also acting as a guide for the very agents that slaughtered her family.


Wolves throughout Oregon were delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) on November 9, 2015. Wolves in the western portion of the state (west of Hwys 395-78-95) lost federal protections in January 2021. Wolves are now state-managed by ODFW.

An estimated 173 wolves are living in Oregon today.