$50,000 reward for information regarding three dead gray wolves in Southern Oregon
KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — Three endangered gray wolves from the same pack have died in Klamath county, and a federal agency in southern Oregon is offering a $50,000 reward for information about their deaths.
On December 29, two gray wolves’ collars transmitted a mortality signal. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement that when state wildlife officials arrived, they discovered three dead wolves. Two of them had collars, and one did not have one.
The two wolves from the Gearhart Mountain Pack that were collared were a subadult and an adult breeding female. The third one that was killed was also a subadult
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are seven wolves left in the pack, which includes a breeding male.
In the statement, officials did not disclose how the wolves died. A phone message left on Saturday asking for more details and information was not returned right away.
The Endangered Species Act provides federal law protection for gray wolves. It is forbidden to harm them in any way or kill them. The reward is given for information that results in an arrest, a conviction for a crime, or a fine.
Law protecting endangered wolves
Gray wolves were nearly eradicated in the early 20th century, but critics claimed that hunting would hamper the recovery from this loss. On Thursday, a judge reinstated federal protection for gray wolves throughout the majority of the United States.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was accused of failing to provide evidence that wolf populations in the Midwest and parts of the West could be maintained without the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said in Oakland, California, that the agency failed to sufficiently take into account the risks to wolves outside of those territories, hence the reinstatement of protection laws.
Wolf attacks on livestock are rare, but when they occur, farmers may suffer large financial losses. Wolves’ natural prey, elk and deer herds, have shrunk in some areas, and hunters are upset about the judge’s decision.
The National Rifle Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and other business associations pleaded with the judge not to reinstate federal protection, thus leaving the wolves in the hands of states that permit wolf hunting.
Ed McBroom, a Republican state senator from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, said, “It is frustrating for a far-off judge to tell us how to scientifically manage a species that cannot be trusted. It forces citizens to do things their way.”