State wildlife officials killed four wolves recently that conducted multiple attacks on livestock in Wallowa County.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were allowed to kill four wolves at the end of March to stop attacks on cattle and sheep that had occurred on a number of ranches. The four predatory wolves had broken away from a pack, left their traditional ranges, and moved into private land forcing officials to take action.
Oregon biologists who studied the wolf pack theorize that there was a split in the pack as an older alpha-male led three other younger wolves towards the easier prey of domesticated livestock. The decision to cull the wolves was not an easy one and was taken after much deliberation by officials as stated by Oregon wolf coordinator Russ Morgan:
“This is a really tough situation to be in, but it’s part of the responsibility of managers, we felt in this situation, the only logical move was to lethally remove these wolves.”
With five attacks on livestock occurring over the month of March the cull was ordered as officials received multiple complaints from land owners and it was expected that the predation would only increase in the coming months.
The State wolf plan requires that land owners try to deter wolf attacks on livestock through nonlethal methods, such as protective dogs and human patrollers, but once these methods failed and with multiple complaints lethal action was taken.
This was the third time wolves have been culled by state officials since they were reintroduced to Oregon eight years ago.