State takes lethal action against Oregon wolves killing livestoc - KPTV - FOX 12

State takes lethal action against Oregon wolves killing livestock

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OR4, the alpha male of the Imnaha pack. (Photo: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) OR4, the alpha male of the Imnaha pack. (Photo: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Wildlife officials have killed a group of wolves after repeated attacks on livestock in eastern Oregon.

Information from two collared wolves in the Imnaha pack – OR4, the alpha male, and OR39, the alpha female – indicate that they and another two younger wolves were responsible for recent attacks on private land in Wallowa County.    

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented livestock depredation by the pack on March 9, March 25, twice on March 28 and March 30.

Non-lethal measures were used following the initial attack, including midnight spotlighting, livestock protection dogs and a range rider patrolling the area and hazing the wolves when found. However, they did not stop the attacks.

Investigators believe the four wolves responsible for the attacks broke away from the rest of the Imnaha pack and their physical condition could be a factor in the attacks. The alpha male is now 10 years old and the alpha female has been known to limp since she was first spotted a few years go.

"As wolves grow old, or if they are injured, they are unable to hunt traditional wild prey as they have in the past," said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. "This could be playing a role in the pack's recent behavior."

Wildlife officials said the four wolves were shot and killed on private land in Wallowa County on Thursday. 

This is the third time ODFW has used lethal control for wolves since the animals were returned to the state in the early 2000s.

Two wolves were killed after a number of livestock losses in Baker County in 2009, and two wolves from the Imnaha pack were removed in 2011 due to chronic livestock depredation.

Oregon's wolf population is still continuing to grow. ODFW documented 110 known wolves at the end of 2015, a 36 percent increase over 2014.  

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