SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Someone shot a wolf in Oregon, leaving its pack without a breeding male, wildlife officials said on Friday as they announced a $6,150 reward for the shooter.
“I hope this reward will inspire some citizen to come forward with information leading to the killer,” said Wally Sykes with Northeast Oregon Ecosystems.
The radio-collared black wolf was found dead on a forest service road in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, about one mile east of Eagle Forks campground. It had been shot on or around Sept. 24, according to Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Lt. Tim Schwartz.
The wolf was the breeding male of the Cornucopia Pack in eastern Baker County, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said. He and the breeding female raised three pups last year.
“The future of the Cornucopia pack is now uncertain,” the department said. “When packs lose a breeding adult, the remaining members may stay together or they may disband, opening the territory for other wolves to move in.”
Oregon Wild and Center for Biological Diversity each contributed $2,500 reward money and Northeast Oregon Ecosystems added another $850.
“We are heartbroken to learn of another illegal wolf killing in Oregon,” said Amaroq Weiss, a West Coast wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope someone will come forward quickly with information to solve this case.”
As of last April, 22 wolf packs were documented in Oregon, up from 16 in 2018. The number of wolves in the state increased 15% to 158 during that time.