PORTLAND, Ore.— Three conservation groups have added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to a conviction in the deliberate poisoning and killing of eight gray wolves in eastern Oregon earlier this year, bringing the total award to $36,000.
On Feb. 9 Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division troopers found the five members of the Catherine wolf pack — three male, two female — dead at a location southeast of Mount Harris in Union County. On March 11 troopers detected a mortality signal in the same location and found a slain wolf: a radio-collared female who had dispersed from the Keating pack.
Two more collared wolves were subsequently found dead in Union County. In April an adult male wolf from the Five Points pack was discovered west of Elgin, and in July a young female wolf from the Clark Creek pack was found northeast of La Grande.
According to the Oregon State Police, toxicology reports confirmed the presence of differing types of poison in both wolves. Investigators determined that the death of the young female wolf might be related to the earlier six poisonings.
The additional $10,000 in reward funds are being offered by Wolves of the Rockies, Trap Free Montana and The 06 Legacy Project. The other groups contributing to the total reward are the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Oregon Wild, Predator Defense and WildEarth Guardians.
“We were heartbroken to hear of these horrific and inhumane killings, and condemn in the strongest terms this atrocity,” said Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies. “But this slaughter did not occur in a vacuum. We hope to see those responsible for the illegal killings brought to justice. To further this aim Wolves of the Rockies, Trap Free Montana, and The 06 Legacy Project are increasing the award by an additional $10,000. Lastly, we urge the federal government to take action to protect the species by restoring wolves to the Endangered Species List.”
“In 21 years, 31 Oregon wolves have been poisoned, shot or trapped illegally, but only three of those instances have resulted in convictions,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scientists who study illegal wolf killings conclude that for every poached wolf discovered, there are likely two or three more that will never be found. The state has started to take poaching more seriously, but it’s not enough. People kill wolves because they hate them or fear them, and there’s never been an adequate public-education program in Oregon or any state to combat this misplaced mindset.”
Anyone with information about this case should contact the Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888 or *OSP (677) or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us. Callers may remain anonymous.