ODFW Reports Growing Wolf Population, Less Livestock Conflicts

Released April 15, the ODFW annual wolf report is packed with good news about the health and future of Oregon’s wolf population. Summing up the encouraging data, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy told the The Oregonian, “Wolves continue to expand in Oregon, they’re on their own timeline but we’re continuing to see that growth.”  

At the end of 2019, the minimum known count of wolves in Oregon was 158, a 15% increase from the 2018 known minimum of 137. The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher because not all wolves present in the state are located during the study’s winter count, which becomes harder to complete as the population grows.  

The report also identified 6 new packs, bringing the state’s total to 22—nearly all of which were categorized as containing a breeding pair. A pack is defined in the study as four or more wolves traveling together in the winter. In addition, nine groups of two or three wolves were identified.  

Another welcome conclusion from the study is that livestock conflicts or depredation events decreased by 43% in 2019 from 2018 (16 vs. 28). In addition, no wolves were killed through state-sanctioned means in response to killing livestock, which has not happened since 2015.    

Responding to these numbers, Oregon Wild Wildlife Program Coordinator Danielle Moser told The Oregonian“Wolf killing went down, livestock conflicts decreased, and Oregon’s wolf population grew. This is good news, and more strong evidence that focusing on non-lethal measures to reduce wolf-livestock conflict works.” 

By JD Brookbank