Oregon Wolf Report: Documents Minimum Count Of 137 Wolves, 16 Packs

Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists counted 137 wolves in Oregon this
past winter, a 10 percent increase over last year’s count of 124, according to
the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report released today.

 

The
report can be found at
www.odfw.com/wolves.

 

This
annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations,
tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is considered the minimum known wolf
count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon. The actual number of
wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals or groups of wolves
present in the state are located during the winter count.

 

Sixteen
packs were documented during the count, up from 12 packs in 2017. (A pack is
defined as four or more wolves traveling together in winter.) Eight other
groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified. Fifteen of those packs successfully
reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the
end of 2018, making them “breeding pairs,” a 36 percent increase over last
year’s number.

 

“The
state’s wolf population continues to grow and expand its range, now into the
central Oregon Cascade Mountains too,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf
Coordinator.

 

Highlights
from the report:


Resident wolf numbers and reproduction increased in western Oregon. A second
pack (White River Pack) reproduced and was designated a breeding pair for 2018,
joining the Rogue Pack. The Indigo group of at least three wolves was also
found in the Umpqua National Forest.


Three collared wolves dispersed to California and one to Idaho.


Approximately 13% of wolves known at the end of the year in Oregon were
monitored via radio collar.


Biologists documented more than 15,000 wolf location data points by radio
collar or other methods including aerial, track and howling surveys. 53% of
these locations were on public land, 40% on private and 7% on tribal.


The breeding female of Oregon’s oldest known reproducing pack, the Wenaha Pack,
disappeared and no reproduction was documented for the pack in 2018. The female
wolf was at least 10 years old, which is old for a wolf living in the wild, and
she appeared in poor body condition in summer trail camera photos.

 

Two
wolves were found killed unlawfully in 2018 (down from four in 2017). A
juvenile wolf believed to be from the Grouse Flats Pack (a pack that uses
Oregon but is counted as a Washington state pack because it dens there) was
shot. The radio-collared breeding female of the Mt Emily Pack was shot on the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Oregon State Police and
CTUIR law enforcement continue to investigate these incidents and are actively
seeking more information. Rewards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 have been
offered for information leading to a conviction in these and previous cases.

 

Confirmed
depredation incidents by wolves increased 65 percent from last year, with 28
confirmed incidents (up from 17 last year). A total of 17 calves, one llama and
two livestock guardian dogs were lost to wolves and an additional 13 calves
were injured. Three wolf packs were responsible for the majority of
depredations (Rogue – 11, Pine Creek – 6 and Chesnimnus – 5).  While known wolf numbers have increased
considerably over the last nine years, depredations and livestock losses have
not increased at the same rate.

 

In
all phases of wolf management, Oregon’s Wolf Plan mandates that non-lethal
efforts are undertaken before lethal removal is considered. In 2018, those
measures included removing attractants, hazing, electrified fladry, fence
maintenance, radio-activated guard boxes, increased human presence, range
riders and other husbandry practices.

 

ODFW,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services continue to support
livestock producers in their non-lethal efforts with technical advice, supplies
and assistance with implementation.

 

“As
the wolf population has expanded into new areas in Oregon, livestock producers
have adjusted the way they do business to remove bone piles and incorporate
non-lethal measures that can reduce the vulnerability of their livestock to
depredation by wolves and other predators,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf
Coordinator. “We extend our thanks and appreciation for their efforts.”

 

The
Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial
Assistance Grant Program also awarded $160,890 in grant funds to compensate
livestock producers for losses and to fund preventive non-lethal measures.

 

ODFW
staff will present an overview of the draft Oregon Wolf Conservation and
Management 2018 Annual Report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their
April 19 meeting in St Helens. The presentation will be during the Director’s
Report, and no public testimony is taken during this portion of the meeting.

 

Also
see:

 


CBB, April 5, 2019, “Washington Wolf Report: 126 Wolves, 27 Packs; First Pack
West Of Cascade Crest Documented”
http://www.cbbulletin.com/442398.aspx

 


CBB, March 8, 2019, “USFWS Proposes Lifting Federal Protections For Wolves;
Legal Challenges Predicted”
http://www.cbbulletin.com/442251.aspx

 

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