Oregon wolf OR-33 illegally shot and killed
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A collared gray wolf known as OR-33 was illegally killed in southern Oregon, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public to help solve the crime.
The agency announced the death Wednesday, saying DNA from a heavily decomposed carcass found this spring was matched to DNA from when OR-33 was collared by wildlife biologists two years ago.
The carcass was found northwest of Klamath Falls on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
The Mail Tribune reports the wolf had been blamed for a three-day livestock killing spree east of Ashland in June 2016.
OR-33 was blamed for killing two goats, one sheep and injuring a third sheep.
"We just recently confirmed it was a wolf, and it was that wolf," Fish and Wildlife spokesman Brent Lawrence said Wednesday. "We had to know if it was a wolf and a wild wolf, not a captive wolf or a hybrid, before we opened our investigation."
The necropsy determined it died from gunshot wounds, but Lawrence declined to be more specific because the case remains unsolved.
It is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act to kill a gray wolf, which is listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of Oregon.
The shooting is also a violation of Oregon wildlife laws. Oregon State Police and the federal service are working together on the investigation, and investigators have offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
OR-33, a cousin of the famous wolf OR-7, dispersed from northeastern Oregon's Imnaha Pack in 2015, venturing through the Columbia Basin and southern Blue Mountains before heading south and popping up in Klamath and Jackson counties in February 2016.
In April's most recent statewide wolf report, his status was listed as unknown.
Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/