Feds kill wolf in Wallowa County on private land with cyanide trap

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/03/feds_kill_wolf_in_wallowa_coun.html

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A male yearling from the Imnaha Pack was one of eight Oregon gray wolves collared in 2013 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency uses signals from wolves’ collars to track their dispersal throughout the state. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife photo) (ODFW)

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on March 02, 2017 at 4:36 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 4:57 PM

A gray wolf was killed on private land in Wallowa County by a controversial cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildlife officials confirmed Thursday.

The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack in northeast Oregon and believed to be less than 2 years old. Officials had just placed a tracking collar on the animal Feb. 10. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged Sunday’s “unintentional” killing in a news release.

According to Thursday’s statement, the federal government’s Wildlife Services division was using a cyanide device known as an M-44 to kill coyotes in the area and “prevent coyote-livestock conflict” on the private property.

State officials say the wolf’s death is believed to be the first in Oregon connected to an M-44. The controversial tool is a spring-activated device that is typically smeared with scented bait, then shoots poison into the animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap.

Oregon removed the gray wolf from its Endangered Species List in November 2015. According to the state’s estimate that year, Oregon is home to at least 110 wolves in more than a dozen packs.

Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget doesn’t include $460,000 typically set aside to pay the federal agency to kill animals in Oregon. Brown’s office declined to issue a statement Thursday and deferred to state wildlife officials.

“It’s a pretty sad situation,” Rick Hargrave, an ODFW spokesman, said of the wolf’s death. “We don’t want this to happen.” Wolf OR48 was believed to be one of six members of the Shamrock Pack, according to the 2015 report.

Federal officials are reviewing the death and said in a statement that they would “see if any changes to our procedures are necessary.”

An agency spokesman hadn’t responded to a list of questions via email late Thursday.

But the killing prompted outrage in the conservation community and from one member of Oregon’s congressional delegation.

“I have been trying to ban the indiscriminate use of devices like the M-44 for decades,” U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “The use of this device by Wildlife Services led to the death of an innocent wolf, has previously killed domestic dogs, and sooner or later, will kill a child.”

DeFazio introduced a bill in 2012 to ban the M-44, which has been used to kill thousands of animals. According to the government’s website, some 383 wolves have been killed in eight states by the agency.

“The federal government should not be using these extreme measures,” DeFazio said. “It’s time to stop subsidizing ranchers’ livestock protection efforts with taxpayer dollars and end the unchecked authority of Wildlife Services once and for all.”

Brooks Fahy, executive director of the Eugene-based nonprofit Predator Defense, said he was not surprised to learn an M-44 had killed a wolf in Oregon.

He also doubted that the wolf’s death was the first in Oregon.

“Besides putting wolves and non-target species at risk,” he said, “they also put domestic pets and people at risk. They’re extraordinarily dangerous.”

He also described the incident as “troubling.”

“This will not be the last time as long as M44s are allowed,” he said.

Hargrave, the state official, said M-44s were forbidden in areas where wolves are known to roam when the animals were listed under the state’s endangered species act.

According to a state permit document outlining situations in which a wolf could be accidentally killed – termed an “incidental take” – M-44s could “not be used in occupied wolf range.” Permit applicants also had to take broader protections, including prohibiting some traps or snares within three miles of known wolf territory.

Once wolves were removed from the endangered list in Oregon, Hargrave said, the state continued to discuss keeping those protections in place.

The animal killed Sunday was in an area known to be home to wolves.

 

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10 thoughts on “Feds kill wolf in Wallowa County on private land with cyanide trap

  1. Federal officials are reviewing the death and said in a statement that they would “see if any changes to our procedures are necessary.”

    How is this for a change in procedures: Get the greedy ranchers off the land. They raise thousands of cattle near wildlife areas, then demand a death sentence for wolves who kill one of the unfortunate cows before they (the ranchers) can send them off to die in slaughterhouses. A real winner for the rancher parasites and a loser for the cows and wolves.

    The death of this young wolf by such a device is horrific. And no one will be punished for it. The rules and permits never seem to prevent such “accidents” from happening.

  2. Why are we still using these outdated WWI poisons in the 21st century? They have the gall to call this death an ‘unintentional take’. Yes, I think it’s ‘high time’ that changes to their procedures are made. They were banned once, and yet I remember reading some people kept them for continued and illegal use. These people are constantly crying about being under siege by predators, you’d never know that wolf kills of cattle is a very small percentage of their losses. I’d wonder if a lot of even that is exaggerated, because during the last aerial cull in WA at the behest of their master, some of the cattle deaths were only listed as ‘probable’. How many killing methods do they need? If more people would wake up about what the consequences of their eating of cheap beef is, this wouldn’t be happening.

    • The ranchers should have to answer for the inadequate care of their animals–leaving them out on the range in all weather conditions, not providing veterinary care for sickness, injury, or births, and keeping them on lands near predators.

      I’m not sure the ranchers care who kills the cows–wolves or cougars or bears. They just want reimbursement and they hate wolves the most, so they’re the best target for revenge.

  3. How can anyone NOT feel utter contempt for USFWS? Baiting the land with M44s to “prevent” livestock losses? Like it’s okay to kill coyotes this way, and it’s okay to blame predators when it’s really the ranchers at fault? Plus, anyone with a brain cell knows that this method is ridiculously ineffective. It’s not okay with me, regardless of the species victimized. However, it is completely in character for USFWS. Unfortunately, it’s also in character for Gov Brown to dodge questions and avoid taking a stand. Based on her past behavior, she seems indifferent to the plight of animals.

  4. “The federal government should not be using these extreme measures,” DeFazio said. “It’s time to stop subsidizing ranchers’ livestock protection efforts with taxpayer dollars and end the unchecked authority of Wildlife Services once and for all.”

    Could not have said it better–except that “we should not be using ANY measures to ” control or manage’ wild animals. The ranchers need to be controlled and managed, first getting them off public lands. Most will never make it on their private lands–Adios.
    http://www.foranimals.org

  5. Get those m44’s outlawed and ranchers should not be allowed to free range their cattle , have then put the cattle on their land not government land that they pay us hardly nothing.

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