The death of a Northeast Oregon wolf initially reported to have likely succumbed to a gunshot is now being considered a roadkill after examination at a federal forensic lab.
Oregon State Police report the 2-year-old female Chesnimnus Pack disperser known as OR 106 “died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and pelvic area.”
“The report indicated that the associated trauma was most consistent with a vehicle collision,” OSP stated.
The agency, which had initially offered a reward for info, says it has now closed the investigation into the death of the wolf.
“The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division would like to thank the USFWS Forensics Lab for their diligent efforts with the pathological examination, and their continued support,” OSP said.
The collared animal was found deceased along Parsnip Creek Road in Wallowa County between Enterprise and Wallowa on January 8. State fish and wildlife troopers and biologists responded to the scene and the initial suspicion was that it had likely died from a gunshot.
The carcass was sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clark Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland for examination. Techs there found that an old though not completely healed gunshot wound to the wolf’s left rear leg “didn’t appear to be debilitating and was not associated with the cause of death.”
The wolf also carried wounds “suspicious of intraspecific fight,” meaning battles with other wolves, one of the primary ways the species dies.
This part of Oregon is particularly wolf-rich, and it’s also where a series of poisonings of wolves occurred last year. The federal lab was used to make those cause-of-death determinations as well.
On the Washington side of the Blue Mountains last fall, a couple wolves were hit by vehicles.