Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 31, 2016

Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613,

Oregon Issues Kill Order for Four Wolves in Imnaha Pack

Attacks on Livestock Come as State Loosens Requirements for
Nonlethal Methods of Preventing Conflicts With Wolves

PORTLAND, Ore.— Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials today authorized the killing of four wolves from the Imnaha pack for involvement in several attacks on livestock in Wallowa County in northeastern Oregon. One of the wolves ordered killed is wolf OR-4, the longtime breeding male of the pack. OR-4 is the father of wolf OR-7, the Oregon-born wolf who made international headlines by dispersing to California and becoming the first confirmed wild wolf in that state in nearly 90 years. The other three wolves ordered killed are OR-39, who is OR-4’s mate, and two yearling pups from last year’s litter.

Photo of OR-4 courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This photo is available for media use.

“This is a heartbreaking ending for a wolf who was one of the founding members of Oregon’s first confirmed wolf packs and for his mate and family members,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If the state wolf plan’s five-year review process had been conducted last year, as is required by the plan itself, there could have been more specific requirements in place for the use of nonlethal conflict-prevention methods — methods that have been successful in the past.”

Based on radio-collar signal locations and other evidence, five confirmed wolf-caused depredation incidents since early March, resulting in death or injury of three calves and two sheep, have been attributed by the state wildlife agency to these four members of the eight-member Imnaha pack.

Until one year ago, wolves in this part of the state were managed under Phase I regulations of the state wolf plan, requiring that specific nonlethal conflict-prevention measures be in place for a specified period of time before a wolf-caused loss would count as a strike against wolves to qualify for potential lethal control. For the past year, however, wolves in eastern Oregon are being managed under Phase II regulations of the plan, which are much more lax and vague regarding what measures must be taken by ranchers or the state agency before wolves can be killed for chronic depredation. OR-4 had recently been re-collared and his mate newly collared, so these wolves’ locations were known before any of the recent conflict incidents arose.

“Knowing these wolves’ locations provided the perfect opportunity to set up scare devices triggered by the radio signal of an approaching radio-collared wolf, and to hang flagging on fencelines known to thwart attempts by wolves to cross into livestock pastures, but neither was done,” said Weiss. “It’s calving and lambing season, the exact time of year when all methods to deter conflict should be implemented, but the outdated wolf plan doesn’t require it. As a result, these wolves will die.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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