First Livestock Wolf Kill in Oregon in 2010

Four wolves killed a calf (pictured below) north of Enterprise yesterday in Wallowa Co., Oregon. This is the first confirmed livestock killed by wolves in Oregon Wallowa County in 2010. [Not the first kill, not the first in Oregon.]

The federal government illegally dumped Canadian wolves in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1995. They (the wolves and the dumpers) have now spread into Oregon.

State biologists maintain that wolves have ecological “value.” By that they mean wolves extirpate game animals such as deer and elk, “surplus” kill livestock, spread diseases such as rabies, distemper, and hydatid tapeworms, stalk children, and generally rid the ecosystem of other mammals.

Here is an excellent journalistic synopsis of the incident:

ODFW confirms first wolf kill in Wallowa County

By Kathleen Ellyn, Wallowa County Chieftain, 5/7/2010 [here]

Wallowa County rancher Bob Lathrop has become the first to suffer a confirmed wolf kill of livestock in Wallowa County. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has confirmed that the calf killed May 5 on the Lewis Road/Dorrance Grade 17 miles northeast of Enterprise was killed by wolves.

The calf was in a pasture of young cows and calves recently moved from a home pasture to grazing near Zumwalt Prairie. ODFW employee Jason Moncrief, who was hired to haze elk back from Zumwalt Prairie into the forest, saw four wolves in the cow/calf pasture the morning of Wednesday, May 5, and later in the day saw carrion birds fly from the same pasture.

He investigated, discovered the partially eaten remains of the approximately two-month-old calf scattered across the field, and reported the find.

Oregon Department of Fish and Game (ODFW) District Biologist Vic Coggins and rancher Tom Birkmeier happened to be in the area and responded immediately. U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services wolf hunter Marlyn Riggs and Rod Childers, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) arrived shortly thereafter. Coggins and Riggs confirmed the kill. ODFW Wolf Program Coordinator Russ Morgan was out of town but returned immediately, arriving on Thursday to second the confirmation. The wolves are believed to be part of the 10-wolf Imnaha pack.

“It was sheer luck we got that confirmation,” said Childers. “If Jason hadn’t been passing by, seen those wolves and then checked it out, and if Tom and Vic hadn’t been in the area right then, this would be another unconfirmed kill.”

Wallowa County ranchers have been complaining for months that young calves are being entirely eaten, and that since they can only report mother cows with no calves, the predation of dozens of calves has not been confirmed by ODFW.

Childers said that the Association had requested that the wolves be permanently removed from the area or killed. However, a press release from ODFW said that the agency planned to use non-lethal measures to avoid future incidents as the first response to wolf depredation.

“It’s ludicrous,” said Childers. “ODFW says that all of the non-lethal actions we’ve been taking in this county are ‘preventative.’ I asked what the difference was between non-lethal and preventative and there is no difference. If there was more that we could do we would do it, but basically we have to wait until there are more dead livestock confirmed as wolf kills before ODFW can possibly take an action. If these four wolves get back into the pack before there is another depredation, we can’t identify the specific wolves and the whole process starts over again. This could go on all summer.”

Lathrop told ranchers he would be sleeping with his cattle for the next few days, but has three pastures of cattle. “What’s he going to do,” Childers asked, “flip a coin as to which pasture he should be sleeping in?”

Several other cattle carcasses have been photographed and reported as suspected wolf kills in Wallowa County, but were too well-eaten to show the distinctive bite marks of wolves and gain confirmation by ODFW biologists. Ranchers are also reporting changes in behavior by cattle consistent with harassment by wolves. One serious consequence of wolf harassment reported by ranchers in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana is that stock dogs can no longer work cattle because fear of dogs causes cattle to bunch up protectively instead of herd, Childers said. Childers said the OCA is asking ranchers to document any and all interactions with wolves, behavior of cattle, and preventative actions taken. “We need to get this Wolf Plan and the state Endangered Species Laws changed,” said Childers.

There are two known wolf packs wolves in Oregon, both in Wallowa County. ODFW confirms a pack of 10 in the Imnaha area and another pack estimated to be of four in the Wenaha area. Other single wolves are believed to be dispersed throughout the state. Approximately 30 head of livestock have been confirmed killed by the wolves in the last 12 months; 29 in five attacks in Baker County and one in Wallowa County.

7 May 2010, 4:37pm
by YPmule

First kill of 2010? Wolves killed sheep in Oregon last year. The owner had to prove they were wolves (set up a camera) and the Feds came and put collars on the wolves and let them go. The owner tried all the “non-lethal” methods to protect his critters and the wolves killed more anyway. I think they finally removed the two wolves.

7 May 2010, 7:32pm
by Mike

Thank you. Fixed. Actually, we reported that [here].

On 8/31/09, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized removal of two wolves in Baker County after five separate livestock depredation that killed a total of 27 sheep [all lambs], 1 goat, and 1 calf on 2 private ranches since April 10. One wolf was radio-collared in response to earlier depredations. Monitoring indicated that the only wolves involved were just 2 yearling non-breeders that were not associated with a pack. ODFW also issued a permit to one rancher to shoot the 2 wolves if he caught them in the act of attacking more of his livestock. The wolves were previously harassed “multiple times” from the air but these and other non-lethal methods [rancher got extra fencing, buried the carcasses, and a guard dog] of protecting the livestock were unsuccessful. …

8 May 2010, 12:55pm
by YPmule

Hey Mike - I was pretty sure you had reported on this before - hope you didn’t think I was being picky.

The Oregon rancher did everything by the book and still lost animals to wolves. And so did his neighbors. I think his efforts should be commended and pointed out to the folks that still think “non lethal preventive measure” will keep the wolves at bay once they start killing domestic animals. Also this happened on private property, not public lands.

An interesting story yesterday, Oregon ranchers have been losing calves prior to the documented kill reported above.

“Oregon Ranchers On Edge After Wolf Kills Calf”

Reply: Thanks for the tips, YP. The best news report so far, from the Wallowa County Chieftain, has now been appended to the post above.

27 May 2010, 6:14am
by Puller

Gee, we must have wolves in D.C. That calf looks like all the roadkill deer who have been dressed by carnivores in our locale. Certainly, when my dairy goats were killed by a neighbor’s dogs, they had bite marks on their necks, ears and ass and were eaten out from the back. This calf looks like someone helped himself to backstrap and roasts.



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