Court orders state to halt hunt for two wolves of Imnaha pack in NE Oregon
JOSEPH -- As state biologists combed northeastern Oregon's rugged mountains Wednesday to kill two gray wolves in the Imnaha pack, conservation groups challenged the kill order in court and called on Gov. John Kitzhaber to intercede.
Steve Pedery, spokesman for Oregon Wild in Portland, suggested the pack might be scattering to avoid getting shot.
The department killed two Imnaha pack wolves earlier this year in Wallowa County in response to livestock losses. A kill order for an additional wolf was drawn up this past spring but never executed.
In 2009, the department ordered two young wolves killed in Baker County in the first authorized hunt of its kind in Oregon after they killed 27 sheep, a goat and a calf on two ranches. An order to remove two Imnaha pack wolves last year was halted by a court challenge from the same conservation groups opposing the latest kill order.
Laughlin questioned why the department has targeted a young wolf in addition to the alpha male when no evidence exists that it took part in killing Nash's calf.
Dennehy said biologists believe the entire pack was involved in killing and eating the calf. "That is based on how quickly the carcass was consumed and the evidence at the scene," she said.
Laughlin said the groups last week asked the governor to stop the hunt, but were turned down. They delivered another request Wednesday, but received no immediate answer.
Wolf numbers in Oregon now officially stand at 14, with four in the Imnaha pack; four in the Walla Walla pack, which recently grew with the addition of two pups; four in the Wenaha pack; one in the Mount Emily Unit between La Grande and Pendleton; and one in Wheeler County near Fossil.
© 2011 Oregon Live LLC.
This article originally appeared here.
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