Wolf, © James Brandenburg / National Geographic Stock

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Oregon Wolf Meets His End in Idaho

Wolf OR16 was only one year old, but showed an urge to explore far beyond his age. He was born in Oregon and was part of the Walla Walla pack, but eventually struck out on his own, crossing hundreds of miles into Washington State. He then swam across the Snake River and ventured into Idaho, all the while being tracked by researchers homing in on his GPS collar.

Wolf OR16 wakes after receiving his GPS collar in Oregon's Union County on November 1, 2012.

Wolf OR16 wakes after receiving his GPS collar in Oregon’s Union County on November 1, 2012.

But as we all know, Idaho isn’t a great place to be a wolf these days and sadly, after only 33 days on Idaho soil, OR16 was tracked by a hunter on the Boise National Forest outside of Lowman and legally killed during Idaho’s wolf-hunting season.

OR16 was an amazing animal. Wolves disperse into new areas all the time—these movements help keep wolf populations healthy and growing—but OR16’s journeys were extraordinary, even by wolf standards. His loss is even more tragic as researchers were gleaning tons of information on wolf behavior from the GPS and telemetry signals being emitted by his collar.

OR16 is the second Oregon wolf killed as part of Idaho’s wolf hunts. A year ago, OR-9 was illegally shot by an Idaho hunter. Wolves are relatively new to Oregon; recent census data shows the population slowly climbing to 53 last year.

Idaho’s wolf management practices have been taking a devastating toll on wolves in the northern Rockies since their Congressional delisting in 2011. In their latest move, the state has allocated $50,000 to kill wolves in order to inflate elk numbers for hunters.

13 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up”

  1. Jeanie Alfieri

    Please explain why we are allowing hunter to kill these beautiful animals just to allow others to grow long enough for those same hunters to kill them. Who are the animals us or them?

    Reply
  2. patti oaks

    that is sad what Idaho did and every other state does leave these wolves alone I hope these state get whats comeing to them they are butt heads for doing that I hope wildlife hurts them in pocket bad than maybe they will think they are dum in that state

    Reply
  3. Kim Jones

    How was he able to be tracked by a HUNTER of all people and not a reseacher ? There is a reason they have GPS collar’s ….

    Reply
  4. Louise

    Terrible, what a loss to researchers tracking this beautiful animal. I’m deeply saddened at OR16’s loss.

    Reply
  5. Dorreen Gustafson

    Killing of this young wolf makes no sence.We put all this funding together track this animal two states and allow it to travell into a wolf killing state knowing the animal was in this kind of danger only to be shot.I live in the state of Maine we need to respect wild life.If we live among nature we need to respect it.Does Idaho have a wolf population explotion? Is that why they can hunt them?Was this wolf killing live stock and traveling in a pack and was he wearing an identifying radio control collar.Just because we are hunters does not give the right to be reclace.I feel it is part hunter part wild life managements fault this young wolf an endangered animal was shot.So take better care of our endagered animals you are monitering!

    Reply
  6. Pete Haswell

    Looking at some of the comments I think some clarification is required about the use of GPS telemetry collars.

    A radio tracked wolf’s behaviour cannot be controlled in any way and is free to move where it wishes as a wild free ranging animal.

    The collars the wolves wear provide information on location and movement(activity) only. This data can be applied for the study of their movements, activity patterns, habitat use etc…

    Scientists cannot in any way be there 24 hours a day to intervene and stop a wolf being hunted simply because the collar tells them where the animal is twice per day. With multiple collared animals in a large area it would be impossible and also they would not be allowed to intervene with Idaho’s legal wolf hunts regardless.

    The hunter in question would have tracked the animal on land following tracks and signs in the wilderness and would not have had any access to technological tracking using the telemetry collar. The wolf was not necessarily involved in any livestock predations or conflict with people, however current legislation permits the hunting of wolves in Idaho during particular seasons with the purchase of a hunting tag regardless of being a problem animal or not. With this legislation in place wildlife managers have no control over incidents like this and can only continue to fight for improvements to legislation and management as Defenders continually do.

    The problem that will need to be addressed is the lack of protection for individuals wearing tracking collars. Such animals that are collecting information to help advance the scientific knowledge base and help with the management of wolves should ideally be placed with an exemption to hunting permissions. Something which I am sure Wildlife managers are looking into. Nobody working with wildlife wishes to see research efforts and money wasted in this way. It is always disheartening to loose a monitored animal and all of the potential information it could provide.

    Reply
  7. Jim Gonsman

    I am sickened by this situation and would like to know the details of actions that DOF and other organizations are taking to put an end to this. There seems to be a lot of hand wringing and little said about anything else.

    Reply
    • Defenders of Wildlife

      Hi Jim. We’re working on many fronts, both on the ground and in the courts, to fight for better protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies. We’re on the ground in many of these states rallying citizens to speak out against irresponsible management policies, and teaching people the truth about wolves as an important wildlife species so that we can fight myths, misconceptions and old hatreds that still exist towards these magnificent animals. We’re also fighting some of the decisions in court – most recently, we challenged the Obama Administration over their decision to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in Wyoming. You can read more about it at http://www.defendersblog.org/2012/11/the-wait-is-over/

    • Jim Gonsman

      Thank you. I support all of the organizations mentioned in the-wait-is-over blog that are involved in the suit to overturn this this decision and am surprised that I had not heard of this suit before now. As the initial ruling was made in 2011, I wonder why it has taken so long. That aside, it is good news. For the future, it would help me to get more information about the specifics of DOF’s efforts rather than just an appeal for funds. The Center for Biological Diversity does a good job in this respect.

      Keep up the good work and thank you for what you do.

  8. Connie Anderson

    How are our contributions used to help save wildlife? Might seem like a dumb question, but asking anyway. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Moderator

      Hi Connie,
      Your contributions support our work to protect wolves and other wildlife and wild places. We work in Florida to keep endangered panthers from being hit by vehicles, in Montana to help restore wild bison to the Great Plains, throughout the Rockies to teach ranchers nonlethal methods of protecting their livestock from wolves, and much more. We also speak for wildlife in the courts, challenging decisions that could harm endangered and threatened species like whales, wolves, sea turtles and many others. You can learn more about this and all the work that we do at http://www.defenders.org.

  9. Millie Sheen

    Why don’t we respect other animals? That poor wolf if it had been a human it would have been honored for surviving such a long journey not killed for it.
    R.I.P OR16, You were an amazing animal! You survived so much.

    I can’t believe they are actually going to invest $50,000 in killing these beautiful creatures! Why would you do that? What have the wolves ever done to people other than feed their pups? Thank you Defenders for all you do for these wonderful animals!

    Reply

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