Imnaha wolf pack attack three bred heifers, one calf missing
JOSEPH, Ore, March 8, 2012 – While environmentalists once again celebrate their success to protect the Imnaha wolf pack from being removed due to chronic predation, ranchers in Wallowa County continue to lose livestock to the same pack.
According to our sources, Oregon Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) confirmed that three heifers owned by a local Wallowa County rancher were attacked on private property by the Imnaha pack in the same vicinity Annie the mule was killed by wolves.
One of the heifers was expecting a calf in less than two weeks. She had to be euthanized due to serious injuries. The calf did not survive.
The other two pregnant heifers survived the attack. The long-term prognosis in relation to injuries, possible infections from wolf bites and calving is unknown at this time.
The possibility still remains that the heifers may abort the fetuses due to stress from the attacks, infections and other related medical issues thereof.
An additional calf not related to the three heifers is also missing.
So far the Imnaha pack has killed 21 cows and calves according to ODFW, US Wildlife Services reports 30.
The wolves responsible for the latest attacks on livestock had already been identified by ODFW as chronic livestock depredation offenders with the latest on October 8, and Oct 25. , over Thanksgiving Weekend Nov. 26, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, and Jan 14, when a total of six more cows, and Annie the mule were found killed by wolves.
While the pack is continuing a pattern of chronic livestock depredation begun in spring 2010, ODFW wolf coordinator Russ Morgan characterized the recent kills as a “significant” change in the pack’s behavior back in December 2011.
Previously the pack killed mostly smaller calves, but now it has shifted to larger-sized yearling and adult cows. The timing is also new, as depredation by this pack has not been previously confirmed during the period October through December.
According to ODFW, the law suit that prohibits ODFW from killing “chronic” livestock predators by trapping and euthanizing does not apply to Livestock producers who hold a legal kill permit issued by ODFW. They are still able to use lethal methods when catching wolves “in the act.”
Catching a wolf in the act is extremely difficult since they are very elusive and usually strike at night. To guard herds 24 hours a day, seven days a week is impossible. Wallowa County’s family owned ranching businesses already struggle in a tough economy. Hiring additional staff to stay with cattle on hundreds and sometimes thousands of acres is just not feasible. “It’s like demanding to hire security guards at every Safeway in the Willamette Valley to stand outside 24/7 just in case a cougar shows up in a parking lot,” a Wallowa County resident said. “It’s just impossible.”
The Oregon Court of Appeals stopped the killing of the wolves on Oct. 5 after three wildlife advocacy groups filed for and were granted a stay on the kill order. Conservation groups sued to challenge the killing, arguing the Oregon Wolf Management Plan, which allows wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks, does not comply with the state Endangered Species Act. While federal Endangered Species Act protection has been lifted for wolves in Eastern Oregon, the state act still covers them. The court extended the stay order Nov. 15.
WVO latest information states that the court will not review the case until July, 2012.
Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity,Oregon Wild, and other wolf supporters claim that an animal protected under the ESA should never be able to be lethally removed, regardless of how much livestock they kill on private property.
Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oregon Wild, and other wolf supporters have also said before that it should be enough that ranchers get compensated for their loss, thus wolves should not be lethally removed just because they keep on killing livestock.
According to outside sources, there are more than 30 wolves in Oregon outside the Imnaha pack. The actual numbers cannot be verified, because most of the wolves are not collared. Other sources say more than one hundred.
The Oregon Court of Appeals stopped the killing of the wolves on Oct. 5 after three wildlife advocacy groups filed for and were granted a stay on the kill order. Conservation groups sued to challenge the killing, arguing the Oregon Wolf Management Plan, which allows wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks, does not comply with the state Endangered Species Act. While federal Endangered Species Act protection has been lifted for wolves in Eastern Oregon, the state act still covers them.
- VIDEO: Imnaha pack keep killing more cattle – first calf in 2012 adds to 21 confirmed by ODFW
- 5th Calf killed, wolf attack probable
- Wallowa County Rancher reports another wolf attack – Second depredation of a calf in less than two weeks
- ODFW may kill additional wolf from Imnaha pack: Livestock loss confirmed as wolf-caused
- Imnaha pack wolf spotted in Strawberry Mountains