After eight wolves were poisoned, Oregon police seek help

Oregon Wildlife Soldiers found five wolves dead in February, followed by a sixth in March, a seventh in April and an eighth in July. At...


Oregon Wildlife Soldiers found five wolves dead in February, followed by a sixth in March, a seventh in April and an eighth in July.

At that time, they knew the animals had been killed by poisoning. Now state police are begging the public for help, claiming authorities have “exhausted leads in the case.”

Oregon State Police last week urged anyone with advice or information about the poisonings to contact them, after months of investigating the murders.

The five wolves from a group called Catherine Pack, found southeast of Mount Harris in eastern Oregon, and three wolves from other packs were among the animals killed, state police said Thursday in A press release.

Police declined to say what substances were used. They did not say if they thought the poisonings were deliberate or what could have motivated them.

It is illegal to shoot wolves in Oregon except in defense of human life and in certain situations related to depredation of livestock, according to Michelle Dennehy, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. . Oregon does not allow wolf hunting at this time, she said, adding that penalties for wildlife crimes could include thousands of dollars and jail time, according to the charges.

“Poisoning an entire pack is important,” Ms. Dennehy said. She said her department would have a clearer picture of how the deaths could have affected the overall wolf population next year, once biologists complete their winter surveys in 2021-2022.

News of the deaths concerned regional and national wildlife advocates, especially as the subject of wolf hunting has become a conflict in states like Wisconsin, where hunters killed more than 200 wolves in less than 60 hours this spring. In court, federal officials and wildlife advocates are collide with protections.

Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center, an environmental nonprofit, said the Oregon case was “quite unusual”, adding that “the illegal killing of wolves every year remains a big concern.”

While wolf populations have slowly increased over decades of protection, the debate returned to the extent of their recovery, the laws concerning them and their effect on breeding and hunting.

Wolves were sometimes treated as a sort of “political predator,” said Ms Howell. “People love them. People hate them, ”she added. “They certainly evoke a lot of emotions.”

Ms Howell said that the loosening of protections, such as the wolf’s radiation from the endangered species list of Oregon in 2015 and from the federal list this year, could have played a role in the Oregon affair.

“Peer-reviewed research shows poaching worsens when legal protections for wolves are relaxed,” she said.

Environmentalists have condemned the decision to remove wolves from the federal endangered species list, calling it premature. Federal officials have argues that the gray wolf population has met conservation goals and are tough enough to withstand hunting.

In Oregon, state wildlife biologists counted 173 wolves in Oregon last winter, a 9.5% increase from 158 last year, according to Dennehy, spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife. Ms Howell said that although the gray wolf population has grown slowly since the discovery of a pack in 2008, “all but three of the wolf packs are in the northeast corner of the state, which represents a small fraction “of the historic range of the wolf in Oregon. .

This year’s investigation began on February 9, when soldiers from the Oregon State Police Department of Fish and Wildlife received information from the Department of Fish and Wildlife of Oregon about a hunted wolf who may have died.

When the soldiers responded to the scene, they found three dead male wolves and two dead females – the wolves were later revealed to be members of the Catherine pack, named because of their range in the Catherine Creek region of northeastern Oregon. A dead magpie was also found near the wolves.

The animals were taken to a state’s forensic lab to determine the cause of their death.

On March 11, soldiers learned that another wolf collar had issued a “death signal”: its collar had remained motionless for many hours, suggesting the animal was likely dead. Authorities found a dead wolf, as well as a dead skunk and magpie nearby. Their remains were taken to a laboratory for testing.

As the snow melted and the weather faded, the soldiers found evidence they suspected to be related to poisoning, and put it to the test.

In April, lab reports confirmed poisoning was the cause of the deaths of the six wolves, the skunk and two magpies, police said. That same month, a male wolf was found dead in another group, called the Five Points Pack. In July, a young wolf from another pack was also found dead.

“Toxicology reports confirmed the presence of different types of poison in the two wolves,” police said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: After eight wolves were poisoned, Oregon police seek help
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