As tensions rise in Oregon and Northern California over reports of wolves attacking livestock, a $15,000 reward has been issued for information that would lead investigators to the poacher who killed a mother wolf in southern Oregon.
On Oct. 6, investigators found a radio-collared female gray wolf known as OR28 dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Ore. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman declined Friday to say how the wolf was killed, citing an ongoing investigation.
OR28 originated with the Mount Emily pack in northeastern Oregon, but in November 2015, left the pack and traveled to southern Oregon, said Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. There, she bred with OR3, a male from the Imnaha Pack, and gave birth to at least one pup.
Dennehy said OR28’s pack is confirmed to have attacked a calf in the area in late September. The calf recovered, she said.
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OR28’s family has ties to California’s first wolf family, dubbed the Shasta pack: two adults with five pups that settled in Siskiyou County last year. DNA tests showed the adults were born in the Imnaha pack.
Also hailing from the Imnaha pack is OR7, the famous wandering wolf that became the first to live in California in modern history and prompted the state to declare wolves an endangered species. OR7 since has returned to Oregon and started his own family, called the Rogue pack. Oregon officials say the Rogue pack also has been linked to livestock killings in southern Oregon in recent weeks.
Both Oregon and California outlaw the killing of wolves. Since 2003, 10 wolves have been killed illegally. Only one of those cases has resulted in an arrest, Dennehy said. The rest remain under investigation.
The Center for Biological Diversity on Friday added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing OR28. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering $5,000.