ENTERPRISE, Ore – Oregon Department of fish & Wildlife responds at 5:27 p.m., June 4, 2010: “After further investigation we are confirming the Zumwalt incident as a wolf kill.” According to ODFW the kill at Day Ridge could not be confirmed and is considered a possible/unknown wolf kill because the carcass was days old and the cause of death could not be determined.
In a statement made yesterday by ODFW, the description of the criteria ODFW is using (confirmed, probable, possible/unknown) is the same as as Wildlife Services has used for their predation reports.
Under these same criteria ODFW has now confirmed six depredation cases, while USDA Wildlife Services has confirmed nine.
Rancher Eric Smith who grazes his cattle at Thomason Meadow located in the Zumwalt area was the latest victim to wolf depredation. The calf was found dead, June 3, 2010, and has been confirmed by ODFW.
Just one day earlier Rancher Scott Shear became victim number eight when he lost one of his calves to wolves while grazing his herd at Day Ridge, located NW of Enterprise, Oregon. His calf could not be confirmed for reasons described above.
Shear who has been living with wolves in his backyard for quite a while had one of his calves attacked by wolves close to his home over Memorial Day weekend. That calf survived and was examined by Marlin Riggs, US Wildlife Services, and Pat Mathews, ODFW, who identified the bite marks and scratches as injuries caused by a wolf.
Two other calves had been confirmed killed by US Wildlife Services and ODFW over Memorial Day weekend in Wallowa County. Ranchers Don Hough and Dick Tienhaara fell victim to the wolf pack that has been killing calves throughout the last three weeks on a regular basis in Wallowa County. Hough’s calf was killed on private property not too far away from his homestead. Tienhaara’s calf was killed less than 1/4 mile from the family home.
ODFW has authorized USDA Wildlife Services to kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack, which are responsible for five confirmed livestock losses in the past few weeks by ODFW, eight confirmed by USDA Wildlife Services.
Wildlife Services has been authorized to kill only two uncollared wolves. This selective removal is meant to protect the alpha male and alpha female. Protecting the collared wolves will also help ODFW, USDA Wildlife Services and ranchers continue to monitor wolf activity. (The alpha female was collared in July 2009 and the alpha male was collared in February 2010.) According to a report by KTVL Conservation groups objected to the permits, saying not enough has been done with non-lethal means yet to justify this step.
ODFW has also issued two additional “caught in the act” permits to the landowners with losses confirmed on Saturday, May 29. The permits give landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing livestock. Last week, ODFW issued five of these permits.
The Wolf Plan, first adopted in 2005, is currently undergoing a five-year review. Ranchers, conservationists and others with comments about the process for responding to livestock losses or other issues may provide public comment.