When a sheep or cow is killed, the first question is often: was a wolf responsible? And there’s a lot riding on the answer. A wolf can be killed if it is found responsible for multiple livestock deaths and new legisalation provides financial compensation for ranchers if it’s confirmed that their livestock were killed by wolves. If a domestic animal is taken down by a cougar, bear or other predator, however, ranchers are not compensated.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is the agency that investigates suspected wolf kills and determines the eventual outcome for both the wolf and the rancher. Earlier this week, ODFW announced its decision to kill two wolves linked to multiple livestock deaths. One of the wolves in question is the alpha male for one of Oregon’s three wolf packs and conservationists say killing him will essentially lead to the decimation of the entire pack. A protest agains the wolf kill order resulted in two arrests at the ODFW offices in Salem.
Are you a rancher? Has a wolf ever killed your livestock? Did you attend the protest earlier this week? What brought you there?
- Anna Willard: Reporter for the East Oregonian
- Russ Morgan: Wolf coordinator for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife