Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists
counted 124 wolves in Oregon this past winter, an 11 percent increase over the
number counted last year.
This count is based on verified wolf evidence
(like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is
considered the minimum known wolf population, not an estimate of how many
wolves are in Oregon.
Twelve wolf packs were documented at the end
of 2017. Eleven packs were successful breeding pairs, meaning that at least two
adults and two pups survived to the end of the year. This marks a 38 percent
increase in breeding pairs from 2016.
“The wolf population continues to grow and
expand its range in Oregon,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “This
year, we also documented resident wolves in the northern part of Oregon’s
Cascade Mountains for the first time.”
More information about the minimum wolf count
is available in Oregon’s 2017 Annual Wolf Report at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/docs/2017%20Annual%20Wolf%20Report%20180405%20FINAL.PDF
Other highlights from the report:
-- The 12 wolf packs documented had a mean
size of 7.3 wolves, ranging from 4-11 wolves. Another nine groups of 2-3 wolves
each were also counted.
-- Known resident wolves now occur in Baker,
Grant, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wasco counties.
-- 25 radio-collared wolves were monitored,
including 19 wolves that were radio-collared during 2017.
-- Four collared wolves dispersed out of state
(two to Idaho, one to Montana, one to Washington).
-- 13 wolf mortalities were documented, 12 of
those human caused.
-- 54 percent of documented wolf locations
were on public lands, 44 percent on private lands, and 2 percent on tribal
Four wolves were killed illegally in 2017, two
in areas of the state where wolves remain on the federal Endangered Species
List (west of Hwys 395-78-95). Three of those poaching investigations are
ongoing with rewards for providing information ranging from $2,500-$15,000.
The fourth case, involving a wolf trapped and
then shot in Union County, was prosecuted. The defendant was penalized with 24
months of bench probation, 100 hours of community service, a hunting/trapping
license suspension of 36 months and a $7,500 fine paid in civil restitution to
ODFW. He also forfeited the firearm and all trapping related items seized
during the investigation and was sentenced to an additional $1,000 court fine.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement
and Oregon State Police continue to actively seek information on the remaining
ODFW investigated 66 reports of livestock
depredation by wolves and confirmed 17 of those to be caused by wolves,
compared to 24 confirmed depredations in 2016. ODFW confirmed losses of 11
calves, one llama, one alpaca and 23 domestic fowl to wolves in 2017 (compared
to 11 calves, 7 sheep, one goat and one llama lost in 2016). During 2017, 24
percent of known wolf packs depredated livestock, compared to 57 percent in
Since 2009, 75 percent of confirmed wolf
depredations have occurred on private land with most happening during four
months (May, August, September, October). While wolf numbers have increased
considerably over the last eight years (only 14 were counted in 2009),
depredations and livestock losses have not increased at the same rate.
The Wolf Plan stresses non-lethal preventative
measures in all phases of wolf management. Reducing attractants by removing
carcass and bone piles is thought to be the single best action to keep from
attracting wolves to areas of livestock.
ODFW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services continue
to support livestock producers by providing technical advice and non-lethal
supplies including electrified fladry, fencing, solar chargers and
radio-activated guard (RAG) boxes.
Fladry is a line of rope mounted along the top of a fence, from
which are suspended strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a
breeze, intended to deter wolves from crossing the fence-line.
When non-lethal measures are ineffective, the
Wolf Plan allows for lethal control against depredating wolves. Five wolves
were killed to address chronic livestock depredation in 2017 (four Harl Butte
wolves taken by ODFW, one Meacham wolf taken by producer with permit).
The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf
Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance Grant Program also awarded 10
counties $252,570 in grant funds to compensate livestock producers for losses
and fund preventive non-lethal measures.
ODFW staff will present an overview of the
draft 2017 Annual Wolf Report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their
April 20 meeting in Astoria.
-- CBB, March 23, 2018, “Washington Wolf
Population Increases For Ninth Straight Year; 122 Wolves, 22 Packs” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440394.aspx