Oregon officials are offering a sizeable reward to anyone who may have information on an illegal wolf shooting that took place earlier this month.
Troopers received a call on Oct. 3 that a collared female wolf called OR88 was possibly dead and way lying near Little Lookout Mountain, which is about nine miles northeast of Durkee.
ODFW troopers and personnel responded and found OR88 deceased on the Bureau of Land Management Property. Officials said the animal had gunshot wounds. And troopers believe someone illegally shot her the day prior.
Wolves are federally protected in the state of Oregon due to their shrinking population. So the Oregon Wildlife Coalition has partnered with several conservation partners to offer a reward for people with information about the crime.
If anyone can offer tips that lead to an arrest or citation stemming from the shooting, the coalition will pay $11,500.
People who may be able to help should call Oregon State Police through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or dial *OSP on a mobile phone.
Oregon Officials Dealing with String of Wolf Poaching
The incident follows a string of poachings in the state. In April of this year, officials offered a reward of $80,000 after someone killed several wolves in Western Oregon.
Over the course of a year, officials found 11 endangered wolves dead. The first incident took place on Feb 9, 2021. Officers were alerted after a collar showed inactivity from a marked animal. And when they arrived at the GPS location, they found five poached wolves along with a dead magpie.
A month later, the criminal killed another wolf, a magpie, and also a skunk just outside of La Grande. In April, the poacher targeted a male in the same area. Finally, in July, officers found a dead female.
The killings picked back up in Feb. 2022 with a female called OR 109 that was living in Cove. And in March, the person or persons poached a young male wolf in Richland.
Autopsies confirmed that all of the animals were illegally hunted. And seven of them died by poisoning.
There are only about 15 wolf packs living in Oregon today, with an estimated 175 total animals among those packs. In 2021, the state saw a 9.5% increase in population. However, the ongoing killings have been stifling their progress.
Police did not make any arrests after the poachings earlier this year, despite the large reward. And officials do not know if this month’s incident is connected.