(Photo of wolf collared in Oregon from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Oregon ranchers are keeping a close eye on their herds. They learned this week that a wolf killed a cow calf in the northeastern corner of the state. It's the first wolf attack on livestock in that area. [Inland Northwest Correspondent Doug Nadvornick says] Ranchers fear it won't be the last.
Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials say one of their employees spotted the dead calf on Wednesday. Biologists checked for bite marks and tracks and determined the killer was a wolf.
The agency's Michelle Dennehy says it's possible the culprit is part of a 10-member pack that has lived in the area for several months. It's one of two known packs in Oregon.
Rancher Rod Childers lives nearby.
Rod Childers: “You knew it was going to happen. You just didn't know when.”
Wolves are no longer federally protected, but the state of Oregon considers them endangered. Childers says that means Oregon ranchers can't kill wolves even if they catch one attacking animals in their herds.
Rod Childers: “It gets real frustrating and hopefully the legislature will, by the documentation and things that are going on now, we can make some headway again next year.”
If the wolves come back to Childers' neighborhood and take down more livestock, state officials can kill them. That's what they did with two wolves last year in another part of eastern Oregon.
[I'm Doug Nadvornick reporting.]
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