A rancher in northeast Oregon has been granted the right to kill two wolves by state officials following an attack on calves in his cow herd.
The rancher from Baker County lost three calves to a newly formed wolf packed called the Pine Creek Pack. Four other calves were injured in a two-day period of wolf attacks, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The pack has eight wolves and roams along the Idaho-Oregon border. A female in the pack is believed to be pregnant which has caused outrage from local activists.
"We should not be killing wolves, especially a pregnant female, in the midst of a poaching epidemic, and using a wolf management plan that expired three years ago," says Oregon Wild executive director Sean Stevens.
Quinn Read, Northwest director for Defenders of Wildlife, believes the lethal removal of wolves is unwarranted after just two attacks.
"The required update of the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is already years overdue – we need better protections for wolves now so this doesn't become the new normal," Read says.
The rancher requested that the entire pack be killed but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will only allow two animals to be removed. The wolves can be killed by the rancher or Oregon wildlife officials up until May 4.
To kill a wolf ranchers in Oregon must prove they have attempted to scare the pack away from their livestock and have documented livestock losses before getting approval to kill a wolf. Carcasses need to be removed in areas where wolves are present as well.
The Backer County Sherriff’s Office released a statement via Facebook following the attacks with a picture of a wolf with a cow and calf: