Recent information from Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild report that Oregon’s wolves are being illegally slaughtered at an alarming rate. On Feb. 15, Oregon State Police found a collared black female wolf, believed to be OR-109, shot to death in Wallowa County. This killing follows the fatal poisoning of eight wolves, the entire Catherine Pack, in Baker County in the summer of 2021. A similar shooting in January 2022 brings the total to 10 illegal killings in less than a year.
In the not-too-distant past, wolf recovery from near-extinction was lauded as a conservation success in Oregon. But now Kristi Kamal, senior northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, says, “Her death is yet another grim example of why emergency federal protections for wolves are desperately needed in the eastern half of our state. Each wolf lost to poaching is a significant hit to the wolf population’s slow recovery.”
“Oregon’s wolf-poaching crisis is reaching a critical level,” says Kelly Peterson, Oregon state director at the Humane Society of the United States. “While this reward ($22,500) cannot bring her back, we hope it brings these cruel actors to justice and helps finally put an end to the illegal slaughter of our wolves.”
Soon Americans will realize that one of the greatest benefits Oregon makes to reducing carbon emissions to fight the climate crisis is the carbon sequestration created by our forests. May we also learn to value and protect one of our forests’ apex animals from this inhumane abuse.