Wolves kill a calf in Oregon’s Wallowa County

Two adult wolves from the Walla Walla Pack were caught on remote trail camera Jan. 16, 2016. Wolves killed and ate most of a 150-pound calf in Oregon's Wallowa County April 7.

Wolves killed and ate most of a 150-pound calf April 7 in Northeast Oregon’s Wallowa County, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A livestock owner notified ODFW after finding the calf’s remains and a dead cow nearby. Wolf tracks, the size and location of bite and scrape marks and tracking collar data showed wolves were responsible, according to an ODFW report. Most of the tissue and the hindquarters of the calf were missing. The cow was unmarked except for a severe eye injury; its death wasn’t attributed to wolves.

Tracking collar data showed a wolf designated OR-50 was at the kill site at 6 a.m. on April 7. The wolf is part of the newly-designated Harl Butte Pack.

The attack happened on private land near the Imnaha River.

ODFW recently issued its annual wolf report, which showed what biologists said was weak population growth in 2016. The report showed Oregon had a confirmed minimum of 112 wolves at the end of 2016, only two more than the previous year.

ODFW officials say bad winter weather made it hard to count wolves this past year, and believe there are more than the survey shows. Other factors for the low population gain may include the disease parvovirus, which could have taken a toll on pups; blood samples taken from captured wolves showed a high exposure rate to severe infections. Also, at least seven wolves were killed in 2016: four of them were shot by ODFW for repeated livestock attacks, one was shot while caught in the act of attacking livestock, and two were killed in circumstances under investigation by Oregon State Police.

Meanwhile, the ODFW Commisson is reviewing the state’s wolf management plan this year. The first hearing is April 21 in Klamath Falls.

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