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Oregon Wolf depredation and poaching cases increased in 2021

Department of Fish and Wildlife

The minimum known count of wolves in Oregon at the end of 2021 was 175 wolves, an increase of two wolves over the 2020 minimum known number of 173, according to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2021 Annual Report released today.

This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs). The actual number of wolves in Oregon is higher, as not all individuals present in the state are located during the winter count.

Wolf mortalities were higher this year with 26 known mortalities, up from 10 in 2020.  Of those, 21 were human-caused (due to poaching, vehicle collisions, and ODFW lethal control after chronic livestock depredation).

“The wolf count did not increase as much over the past year as in previous years, and a higher number of mortalities that included the loss of breeding adults certainly played a role,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW wolf biologist. “Despite this, we are confident in the continued health of the state’s wolf population as they expand in distribution across the state and show a strong upward population trend.”

Depredations of livestock continue to trend lower than the wolf population and most packs did not depredate in 2020. However, last year saw higher counts of wolf depredation (49 confirmed incidents vs 31 in 2020) with most incidents happening from late summer to fall rather than in spring.

“After a calm spring with few incidents, we saw a much higher number of depredations from July through November despite livestock producers’ extensive non-lethal efforts to reduce conflict,” said Brown. “We thank all producers who have taken preventive measures and encourage all those in areas with wolves to reach out for assistance.” ODFW offers technical advice and funds are available to support non-lethal preventive measures through ODA’s Wolf Compensation Grant Program.

Brown did express concern about the level of wolf poaching in Oregon with losses that included an entire wolf pack last year. “We hope that anyone with information will step forward, which can be done anonymously, and claim the preference points or the monetary reward offered which is now at $50,000 for the Catherine Pack.”

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