Eight wolves were fatally poisoned in Oregon’s eastern region earlier this year — and state police are still hunting for a suspect.
Police released a statement on Thursday saying that five members from the Catherine Pack, Union County, and three wolves of other packs had been found dead in February and July.
“To my knowledge, this is the first wolf pack to be killed by poison in Oregon,” Capt. Stephanie Bigman from the OSP, Salem said to the Associated Press.
Bigman stated that there were no suspects, and all possible leads had been exhausted.
“That is why we are reaching out to the public for assistance,” she said.
Only about 170 wolves live within the state’s borders. Many conservation groups are working together to offer $2,600 in cash rewards for anyone who can help them with information about poisonings.
Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division Troopers received reports in February that there was a dead collared dog in the Mount Harris area. The five Catherine Pack wolves were found dead by police, including three males as well as two females. The area also contained a dead magpie.
Troopers found the body of a female Keating Pack wolf in the same spot a month later. The scene was also home to a magpie and a Skunk.
Officials stated that their initial investigations were impeded by snowfall.
In April USFWS confirmed that the cause of the death in each of the animals’ was due to poison.
Later, two more collared Wolfs were found dead in Union County. One was a Male from the Five Points Pack (April) and one from Clark Creek Pack (July).
Two types of poisoning were found in the wolf’s body according to a toxicology report. The six earlier poisonings may have been responsible for the female young wolf’s death.
In the 1930s, government-sponsored poisonings and trapping campaigns decimated the US wolf population.
After being reintroduced to Canada in 1990, more than 2000 wolves remain in six US states: the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon’s poisonings shocked conservationists and advocates for wolves.
“This is horrific,” Sristi Kamal of Defenders of Wildlife in Portland told the AP. “This is quite clearly an intentional and repeat offense.”
“The poisoning of the Catherine wolf pack is tragic and disgusting” said Sophia Ressler, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “No wolf should have to suffer such a fate. Awful events like this show how much more work is needed for us to coexist with these vitally important animals.”
With Post wires