SALEM, Ore. - Wolf OR48, a Shamrock Pack adult male, died on Feb. 26 on private land in northeast Oregon after an unintentional take by the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, state wildlife officials said Thursday.
The wolf died after encountering an M-44 device, a spring-activated device containing cyanide powder. The device was in place as part of Wildlife Services operations to control coyotes and prevent coyote-livestock conflict on private land in northeast Oregon.
“The death of this wolf shows the risk involved when wolves are in areas where Wildlife Services conducts these types of operations,” said Doug Cottam, ODFW Wildlife Division administrator. “This is a situation we take seriously and we’ll be working with Wildlife Services with the goal of preventing it from happening again.”
ODFW and Wildlife Services are evaluating the incident and discussing how to prevent unintentional capture or take of wolves while addressing livestock damage problems.
“Wildlife Services’ specialists care about wildlife and work hard to prevent the unintentional take of animals when addressing human-wildlife conflicts,” said Dave Williams, state director for USDA Wildlife Services in Oregon. "We have begun an internal review of this incident to see if any changes to our procedures are necessary.”
Wolf OR48 was collared on Feb. 10 of this year in Wallowa County and was part of the Shamrock Wolf Pack. At the time of collaring, he weighed over 100 pounds and was estimated to be just under two years old. Wolf OR48 was not the breeding male of the pack.