SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife advocates say there’s been a distressing uptick in wolf poaching cases in the Northwest in the past year and a half.
Four dead wolves were discovered in the northeastern corner of Washington state in February. That followed the poisoning of eight wolves in eastern Oregon in 2021, along with the poaching of a total of eight wolves in Idaho last year.
While the numbers are small, they are a big jump over previous years. Oregon had a total of 10 confirmed wolf poachings between 2017-2020. Washington had no confirmed wolf poachings from 2017-2021.
The Center for Biological Diversity, which compiled the numbers, says the actual number of poaching incidents is likely higher because the cases are difficult to solve.
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In February, the Oregon Department of Justice hired a special prosecutor dedicated to locating, investigating, and prosecuting poachers.
Jay Hall was hired to be the new assistant attorney general dedicated to enforcing anti-poaching laws and providing expertise and resources to local law enforcement for poaching investigations and prosecutions.
Previously he prosecuted major crimes for the Lane County district attorney’s office and developed expertise in using state racketeering laws against organized poaching rings.
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