Oregon: USFWS issues kill order for 2 Imnaha Pack wolves

Kill order, called “retribution”-

Because there are not many wolves in Oregon, this is a big deal. The pack has 10-14 members.  There was one other wolf pack known on the Oregon/Washington state border in 2010 — the Wenaha Pack. It might have 6 members.  USFWS has ordered capturing and “euthanizing two un-collared sub-adults from the Imnaha pack.”  That wolf pack has killed some cow calves every once and a while over the last year.

Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild said in a statement, “This kill order randomly targets any two wolves of Oregon’s Imnaha Pack. That is not wildlife management, it is retribution.”

My view is that, of course, it is retribution. After watching and writing about wolf depredations of cattle for over 15 years now, I’d say “wolf control” is almost always retribution of a kind. Wolves rarely kill enough livestock in any place to make the dead calf or sheep an economic issue, but it is always a political issue. Wolves killing livestock are treated with the same gravity as human homicides and political assassinations, reflecting the values of those who rule in western rural areas.

Here is the story in Sneak Cat. USFWS issues kill order for 2 Imnaha Pack wolves. May 3, 2011.

Update on Oregon wolf packs (taken from a news story). “Oregon currently has three wolf packs: the Imnaha (10 wolves at latest count), Wenaha (six wolves) and Walla Walla (three wolves). The Walla Walla pack is new and wildlife managers are still trying to determine their range, which could primarily be in Washington State.”




  1. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    “The USFWS considers this incident a possible wolf kill and in response has ordered that 2 un-collared sub-adults from the pack be captured and euthanized”
    I hope Carter comments on this. Doesn’t sound like science is involved in these investigations. How does one determine the cause of death after the carcass has been devoured by predators and other wildlife? Sounds like they are flipping a coin- heads they die, tails they ……
    Can’t they send the supposed offending wolves a threatening email

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Sorry they said “probable” not possible. Still not convinced

    1. jon Avatar

      William, they are going to kill 2 wolves that weren’t responsible for killing livestock. This is unacceptable and sickening. Even when wolves kill livestock, wolves being killed is still unacceptable as they are doing nothing wrong. It is the rancher that is the problem. He leaves his cattle out there for predators to easily get.

  3. Maska Avatar

    The use of the word “euthanize” in this context is reprehensible. You euthanize an animal to spare it additional pain from illness or injury. You don’t “euthanize” a wolf for killing livestock. The agencies should not be allowed to manipulate language this way.

    1. SBH CLAY Avatar

      I know. Interesting how euphemisms spill off the tongue of he who knows in his heart that he’s doing something immoral.

  4. Woody Avatar

    A bit of good news.
    This from an email from CBD: “John Kitzhaber, recently wrote to President Obama expressing serious concern over the rider on the budget bill, signed by the president, which takes wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains off the endangered species list — “a highly undesirable precedent,” the governor noted, on an issue that “deserve[d] open and informed debate.”

    Kitzhaber asked the president to “avoid repeating such an approach to policy decision-making” in the future.

    I hope, but doubt, that Obama will respond positively to this plea from Governor Kitzhaber.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Some folks might remember that Kitzhaber was a contender to be Secretary of Interior back when we thought Obama cared about the outdoors.

      1. JimT Avatar

        Any chance that calls to Wyden’s office would bring any pressure on USFWS there?

  5. Jeff Avatar

    I can’t read another one of these stories after reading “Wolfer” without thinking of who investigated the killings and what the real circumstances are.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Jeff, I have heard today that the bad practices sometimes described in Wolfer have become what is expected in Idaho now because they want any excuse to kill a wolf, though probably not to pay reimbursement.

  6. Pat Avatar

    LEAVE THE WOLVES ALONE – get rid of the ranchers and idiot killers of wildlife. I thought Oregon was an enlightened state unlike Idaho & Montana. I do not understand the culture war against Wolves – the livestock industry has managed to wage war against anything that they think is in their way – killing Coyotes, bears, mtn. lions, prarier dogs, snakes, eagles and they get away w/ it. At same time the stupid public is eating beef and dying from cancer and heart disease – go figure!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan