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Idaho Wolf Crosses Into Oregon

(02/19/1999) - Defenders of Wildlife today hailed the news that a female wolf has wandered into Oregon from neighboring Idaho as a great step in wolf recovery in the United States. The wolf, B-45, is the first wolf sighted in Oregon since 1927. She came from the area into which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reintroduced wolves in 1995 and 1996. Defenders also reaffirmed its commitment to its $100,000 Wolf Compensation Trust.

In 1987, Defenders of Wildlife created a $100,000 fund to compensate ranchers for all verified livestock losses to wolves. Since 1987, Defenders has paid more than $70,000 to approximately 70 ranchers. In 1997, the fund became the Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Compensation Trust.

"This is incredibly encouraging news," said Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen. "That she has crossed into Oregon could mark the beginning of an increased area for wolf recovery. She may not find what she's looking for, and she could easily come right back into Idaho. But developments show that wolf reintroduction is working, and this could be the start of something exciting."

B-45 is a federally protected endangered gray wolf that is the offspring of two wolves transplanted from British Columbia. She was part of the Jureano Mountains Pack. B-45 wears a radio collar, which makes it easy to track her movements daily.

"As the wolf recovery area starts to spread out, it is important to know that Defenders will keep its commitment financially to compensate ranchers for losses due to wolf kills," said Schlickeisen. "Wolf predation on livestock is rare, but when it does happen, Defenders will step up to the plate and keep our promise, no matter where the Yellowstone or central Idaho wolves roam."

Currently, B-45 is in the headwaters of the John Day drainage. She apparently wandered there looking for a mate. With her chance of finding a mate in Oregon minimal and not belonging to a pack, B-45's has an uncertain future. However, FWS officials, Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologists, and representatives of the Nez Perce tribe (which is working to reestablish wolf populations in Idaho on behalf of FWS) are keeping tabs on the wolf and making sure that she continues to remain trouble-free.

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Contact(s):

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270

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