A male gray wolf protected under the federal Endangered Species Act was recently shot and killed in Oregon.
According to a press release by Megan Nagel, media contact for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) related to the death of a federally protected gray wolf in southwest Oregon. On October 6, a radio collared male gray wolf known as OR 103 was found dead near Upper Klamath Lake.
It is a violation of the Endangered Species Act to kill a gray wolf, which is listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of Oregon. The incident is being investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the assistance of the Oregon State Police.
Anyone with information about this case should 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.
Gray Wolves Protected by Federal Law
Gray wolves are the only wolf species that are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA became law in 1973 with the goal of protecting and recovering threatened and endangered species and ecosystems on which they depend.
Gray wolves became protected under the endangered species list in 1978. Since that time, their populations have increased due to conservation efforts such as habitat protection, reintroduction programs, and legal protection from hunting and similar activities that could further reduce the population.
Gray wolves are still considered endangered in many parts of the country. They face ongoing threats, including habitat loss and conflict with humans, particularly in areas where they come into contact with livestock.
Other species of wolves like as the red wolf and Mexican wolf are also protected under the ESA, but they are listed as endangered in different parts of the country.
The red wolf is found throughout the southeastern United States in North Carolina and parts of Virginia. The Mexican wolf is native to the southwestern United States and is found mainly in parts of Arizona and New Mexico.
Like gray wolves, these other wolf species are protected from hunting and related activities. Conservation efforts are being made to try and help them recover and thrive in their natural habitats.
Ranchers Oppose Protecting Gray Wolves
Some farmers and ranchers are opposed to protecting gray wolves under the EPA. Gray wolves can attack and kill livestock such as sheep and cattle. Because of this, some ranchers say that legal protection for wolves makes it a lot harder for them to make a living and to protect their livestock from wolf attacks.
Some people also see wolves as predators and think that they should be controlled or be allowed to be hunted in order to protect other wildlife such as deer, and to help prevent conflicts with ranchers and others.