On Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued two kill permits for the Eastern Oregon Pine Creek wolf pack—which consists of three breeding adults and five pups.
An ODFW spokesperson, Michelle Dennehy, confirmed with WW that after unsuccessful "hazing" efforts yesterday, the agency shot and killed one wolf.
The kill permits, Dennehy says, were issued at the behest of a Baker County rancher, Chad DelCurto, after the pack killed three of his calves and injured four others. DelCurto originally requested that the entire pack be killed ("I would like to see the whole pack annihilated," he told the Baker City Herald), but the agency is taking an incremental approach to management.
"The [Oregon] wolf plan lays out that after a minimum of two confirmed [livestock] depredations," Dennehy says, "and documented unsuccessful attempts at non-lethal control, ODFW is authorized to consider lethal control."
ODFW culled one wolf already, and DelCurto has been issued a permit to take another pack member.
In a statement today, conservation group Oregon Wild voiced strong opposition to ODFW's decision to issue kill permits.
"ODFW has proven itself incapable of upholding Oregon's conservation values," the statement reads. "With an outdated wolf plan, more wolf killing, and increasing conflict, it's past time for Governor Brown to step up and rein in the agency that reports to her."
The nonprofit's executive director Sean Stevens adds that, "The breeding female is pregnant and there is no restriction on killing these wolves. We should not be killing wolves, especially a pregnant female, in the midst of a poaching epidemic."
Conflict between livestock owners and conservation groups over how to handle growing wolf populations has existed for more than a decade.
Dennehy recognizes that wolf killing "is not a pleasant part of management, but sometimes it is necessary and [ODFW] has a responsibility to address situations when they come up."