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Genetic testing confirms wolf
A carcass found outside of Cove last March was confirmed to be an Imnaha Pack wolf through genetic testing conducted by the University of Idaho.
Oregon State Police and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are continuing the investigation into the death that officials are saying was caused by a criminal act.
On the morning of March 16 a call was made to Fish and Wildlife by a person who discovered what appeared to be a dead wolf on private property six miles north of Cove.
After taking possession of the 97-pound male animal, state police took it to a local veterinarian for x-rays. The initial examination didn’t confirm a cause of death. The subsequent investigation indicates the animal had been dead about one week.
Wolf sightings and tracks are not uncommon in the Cove area and Fish and Wildlife biologists frequently receive reports of wolf activity. The agency documented a single set of wolf tracks Jan. 31 and in October 2011. The Observer reported on Jan. 31 an unconfirmed sighitng of a wolf near Booth Lane and Carter Road northeast of La Grande.
Sighting are not uncommon in the Grande Ronde Valley, but can be difficult to confirm by Fish and Wildlife. After several reports last winter, biologists surveyed the nearby national forest on snowmobile, but were unable to find tracks.
Despite the sightings, no livestock deaths have been reported in the Cove area.
Wolves are protected by the state Endangered Species Act throughout Oregon. Except in the defense of human life or with a special permit, it is unlawful to kill a wolf. Doing so is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $6,250.