The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : A Reward Totaling $20,000 is Being Offered for Information Leading to the Arrest of Poacher Responsible for Killing a Federally Protected Gray Wolf

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Reward Totaling $20,000 is Being Offered for Information Leading to the Arrest of Poacher Responsible for Killing a Federally Protected Gray Wolf

A reward totaling $20,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a poacher responsible for killing a federally protected gray wolf in south-central Oregon.

OR-28, a 3-year-old female wolf that recently had her first pup, was found dead Oct. 6 in Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It's a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act to kill a gray wolf in the western two-thirds of Oregon, punishable by a fine up to $100,000, one year in jail or both.

The incident is being investigated by the Oregon State Police and USFWS. The wolf’s carcass is at the National Forensics Laboratory for a necropsy.

“The illegal killing of wolf OR-28 is heartbreaking," said Amaroq Weiss, west coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. "She was a pioneering animal that was one of the first wolves to make it from northeastern to western Oregon as wolves reestablish territory in lands these majestic animals historically called home.

"OR-28 was also a first-time mother, who leaves behind her mate and single pup to fend for themselves."

The reward, for information leading to the capture of the poacher, comprises $5,000 from USFWS, $10,00 from the Center for Biological Diversity and $5,000 from the Humane Society.

At least five wolves were poached or died under mysterious circumstances in Oregon in 2015 — including OR-22, OR-34, OR-31 and two wolves known as the Sled Springs pair. Around 10 known wolves have been poached in Oregon since 2007.

"We only knew about most of them because the animals had radio collars," said Steve Pedery, conservation director for the environmental group Oregon Wild. "The reward is nice, but the state's track record of actually prosecuting wolf poaching cases is pretty abysmal. I have some hope that USFWS' involvement will mean the prosecution is taken more seriously."

Anyone with information about this case can call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888. Callers may remain anonymous.

Wolves are protected under the federal ESA in the western two-thirds of Oregon, but were delisted in the eastern third of Oregon. All wolves were removed from the Oregon Endangered Species Act last November.

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