Rewards topped $36,000 for information on poisoning of the Catherine wolf pack earlier this year after Wolves of the Rockies contributed an additional $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest or citation in the case.
Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers discovered five wolves, which comprised all the Catherine pack, deceased in a single location in Eastern Oregon in February 2021. Troopers, responding to a call from state wildlife biologists that they had received a mortality signal from a collared wolf in the area, found carcasses of three male and two female wolves southeast of Mount Harris, within Union County.
Toxicology reports from the wolves, revealed they had been poisoned. Over the next several months, OSP troopers and biologists located an additional three wolves, two magpies and a skunk, also poisoned.
Marc Cooke, president of the non-profit advocate group Wolves of the Rockies, rallied supporters to contribute to a reward.
“Poisoning is a horrific way to die and shows a blatant disregard of respect that we should have for our wolves and all wildlife,” he said.
Wildlife advocates closer to the scene agree.
“We are furious and appalled,” said Sristi Kamal, senior northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, “Such a targeted attack against these incredible creatures is unacceptable and we hope our reward will help bring the criminals who did this to justice.”
Oregon anti-poaching advocates sponsor reward programs through the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line, which is a collaboration among state police, state wildlife officials, hunting organizations and conservation groups.
In 2019, state legislators created the Stop Poaching campaign, to bring awareness of Oregon’s poaching problem, and educate members of the public on how to report poaching.
“Poachers steal natural resources that belong to all of us,” said campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw.
Rewards so far for information that leads to an arrest or citation in the case of the Catherine pack poisoning, along with the additional likely related case of three additional wolves, includes:
- Wolves of the Rockies: $10,000
- Oregon Wild: $5,000
- Center for Biological Diversity: $5,000
- Humane Society of the United States: $5,000
- Defenders of Wildlife: $2,500
- Northeast Oregon Ecosystem: $2,500
- Predator Defense: $5,000
- Cascadia Wildlands: $500
- Wild Earth Guardians: $500
Members of the public who wish to donate to the reward fund may do so online.
If state officials are unable to close this case, donations will revert to the Oregon Wildlife Coalition TIP fund for future rewards for information on people who destroy fish, wildlife, or their habitat.