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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Report finds Oregon collared wolf likely killed by vehicle

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Courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
A wolf from the Chesnimnus Pack caught on camera in northern Wallowa County. A lone wolf that had broken away from the Chesnimnus Pack was found dead near Wallowa on Jan. 8, 2022. Investigators say the animal was likely killed in a vehicle collision.

Authorities originally thought a wolf found dead in Wallowa County in January had died from a gunshot wound, but a closer examination showed the wolf died from blunt force trauma consistent with a vehicle crash.

A collared wolf found dead in Wallowa County in January was likely struck by a vehicle, according to a report released Tuesday by Oregon State Police.

Investigators initially said the 2-year-old female wolf from the Chesnimnus Pack was likely shot to death. The dead wolf was found six miles southeast of Wallowa and was reported to authorities Jan. 8. The wolf had been collared by wildlife officials and named OR-106.

A veterinary examination at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic Lab in Ashland showed the wolf died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and pelvic area.

The exam also found what looked like fight wounds, according to OSP. The veterinary report noted a previous gunshot injury on the wolf’s hind leg that hadn’t completely healed but didn’t appear to be debilitating.

The state investigation has concluded, though authorities are still asking the public for help finding the person responsible for the wolf’s death.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting