Umatilla, Imnaha pack involved in attacks

By Katy Nesbitt/The Observer August 28, 2013 10:22 am
ENTERPRISE — Two head of livestock in Northeast Oregon were confirmed wolf depredations this week.

An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife report said pre-mortem hemorrhaging and muscle tissue damage on the posterior portion of both hind legs and in the thigh area were evident in a mature milking goat found dead last Friday. Pre-mortem hemorrhaging was also observed across the back, indicating the animal was attacked and killed by a predator. The goat was found partially consumed in the early morning hours near its owner’s house.

Evidence indicating the predator was a wolf was the depth and amount of tissue damage — shredding — similar to damage caused by wolf bites. The number of bites and locations of the damage, thigh area and along the back, is characteristic of a wolf kill and has been observed in other kills in this area, the report said.

A GPS radio collar location for OR 14 of the Umatilla River pack was recorded at 3 a.m. inside the pen approximately 40 yards from where the goat was found. The time of the GPS location was consistent with the approximate time of attack.

Depredations attributed to wolves from the Umatilla River pack occurred approximately 2-1/2 miles to the west on May 21 and June 3.

A livestock owner was moving cattle to a new pasture on Aug. 17 and observed an adult cow with injuries to the upper right hind leg and udder. Five days later the animal was taken to a veterinary clinic for examination. Wolf depredation was suspected and Fish and Wildlife was asked to examine the animal. The injuries on the cow appeared to be at least a week old and the animal was otherwise healthy.

GPS data from two Imnaha wolves indicate that for more than a month members of the Imnaha pack frequented an area near the pasture the cow was in when injured.

One calf was confirmed to have been attacked by the Imnaha pack on May 10, approximately 5-1/2 miles northeast of the site of the Aug. 17 attack. Another calf was confirmed as a loss on Aug. 21 about 1-1/2 miles north.

Rod Childers, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association wolf committee chairman, said he wants to make sure that livestock producers in known wolf areas document their time with their animals.

“Ranchers have got to do nonlethal and ODFW is asking for proof,” Childers said.

Childers said documentation has always been required by the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, published in 2005, to track chronic depredation, but part of a recent lawsuit settlement spells out in more detail that non-lethal deterrents, especially human presence, need to be written down in a journal.