Spared by a judge’s ruling after the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced plans to eliminate it, the notorious Imnaha wolf pack has been tagged with attacking three cattle in Eastern Oregon in recent days, with at least one succumbing to its injuries.
The depredation cases were discovered Thursday, March 8, on rancher Dave Talbott’s property, about 13 miles east of Joseph.
Wallowa County Commissioner Susan Roberts, who attended the depredation investigation, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators confirmed wolf bite injuries to three of Talbott’s cattle.
While one of the animals appeared to be on the mend, two others were faring poorly at the time of the investigation. Roberts said one, an 8-year-old cow, had developed a fever but might survive. The third animal, the 2-year-old heifer, was euthanized on the recommendation of a veterinarian at the scene.
The veterinarian determined that the heifer’s dire state resulted not only from bites and trauma, but as well from “the stress of being run to avoid being eaten,” Roberts said.
The veterinarian also determined that the heifer’s unborn calf was already dead. Roberts said the cow was probably within two to three weeks of calving. She added that the veterinarian believed injuries were three to five days old, placing the attacks within a March 3-5 time span.
Roberts said the attacks occurred despite extra measures Talbott had been taking lately to protect his cattle against wolves known to be in the area. Neighbors had been helping, but in the end the wolves got the cattle anyway.
“He was very upset,” the commissioner said.