Oregon’s wolf population growth has slowed in recent years, with the state’s controversial predator minimum count of 178 in 2022, up from 175 in 2021 and 173 in 2020, according to state figures released Tuesday. . .
State officials noted that the state recorded a new record of 24 different packs, up from 21 in 2021, more widespread and deeper in western Oregon than ever before.
Six wolf packs now call the Cascade Mountains home, up from four last year, and signs of wolves as far west as Curry County have been reported in the Coast Ranges, though none have been officially counted this season.
State biologists said the increase in numbers is due to habitat overcrowding in the northeastern corner of the state, where most wolves still live, and the turnover of breeding adults in some packs, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife co-ordinator said. It’s Roblin. Brown said.
However, in 2022, a total of 17 Oregon wolves were killed by humans. Six people were killed in response to chronic attacks on livestock and seven were killed illegally. Two others were killed in a car accident. In one case, a wolf was shot near a family campsite at night while chasing horses. The final wolf was killed under “lethal capture” regulations while attacking livestock.
“Wolf populations are increasing and expanding in western Oregon,” Brown said in a news release. “We are confident in the continued health of the state’s wolves as they range across the state and show a population trend.”
The count only captures wolves observed through visual observations, tracks, and remote camera images; The actual number of wolves in Oregon is higher, officials said.
However, compared to most previous years, there was a small increase in the total number and a large number of wolves by humans. In 2021, an estimated 21 wolves were killed as a result of poaching, vehicle collisions and lethal surveillance by wildlife officials following conflicts with livestock.
State officials called the number of illegally killed wolves “unacceptable.” Six cases of wolf killing are under investigation. In one case, a Wheeler County resident paid a civil penalty for illegally killing a federally endangered gray wolf that authorities said was misidentified as a coyote.
Environmental groups have decried the number of wolves killed by humans in the past two years, saying they are urging ODFW to focus on non-killing measures in the future.
“Every year, a significant portion of Oregon’s wolves are killed by humans,” said Daniel Moser, wildlife program manager for the environmental group Oregon Wild. “About half of ODFW’s rubber seals are killed, and the other half are killed by people who have no respect for wolves. The law or for the animals we share this planet with. As ODFW looks at the next iteration of the wolf plan, it’s clear that the last What Oregon wolves need is more kills.
Wolves west of I-5?
There is growing evidence that wolves—or maybe two—have made it west of Interstate 5 and even as far as the ocean.
No wolves were documented during the winter census, so do not show in this report.
ODFW has reported wolf activity in the form of tracks in Curry County on the Coast Range following public reports last fall.
Biologists also found a healthy ring that had previously been placed on a Chesnymnus wolf in 2016, which later dispersed to California and was last reported in 2018 in a stream in Curry County.
“The tracks and collars are likely from different individual wolves,” ODFW said.
More information will be added to this story.
Zach Urness has been an outdoor reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is the host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. To support his work, subscribe to “Statesman” magazine. Urnes is the author of “Best hikes with kids: Oregon” and “Southern Oregon Tourism.” He can be contacted [email protected] or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.