OR 18 had been in the Bitterroot for just over a week when biologists from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MtFWP) picked up a mortality signal from his GPS collar. He is the first collared wolf known to make the journey from Oregon to Montana.
The two year old grey wolf from the Snake River Pack had dispersed from northeast Oregon, crossed the Snake River and managed to survive his cross country trip through Idaho, the state notorious for shooting Oregon wolves.
OR-18 entered Montana’s Big Hole Valley sometime in May, headed north into Rock Creek and then into the North Sapphires. It was Saturday evening, between six and nine, on May 31, that OR-18 was illegally shot from a road between Sawmill and Ambrose saddles in upper Haacke Creek in the Burnt Fork area of the Bitterroot Valley, east of Stevensville.
Marc Cooke of Wolves of the Rockies told me that the spot where OR-18 was shot is only (as the crow flies) five miles away from the Cooke’s house. He and his wife Lorenza were shocked to learn that the Oregon wolf had been poached so close to their home. They spoke with other Wolves of the Rockies advisors and the decision was made to raise a reward for the arrest of whoever shot OR 18. The money will accompany the $1,000 reward put up by Montana Fish and Wildife.
Oregon Wild has pitched in, as have several individuals. Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild said in a recent press release, “We hope the killer of OR-18, like all poachers, will be brought to justice and serve as an example to those tempted to illegally kill wildlife.”
Marc Cooke is hopeful as well. He believes that whoever shot OR-18 lives nearby. There is a good chance someone will know who did it and will see the reward ad that Wolves of the Rockies has run in the local paper. People talk, as does money.
Perhaps we’ll never find out who shot OR-18. But the larger the amount offered the larger will be the statement that the indiscriminate killing of these animals will not be tolerated.
There are so many worthy places to send your spare dollars, but right now I can’t think of a better place to donate. With the help of Wolves of the Rockies, Oregon Wild, and people like us, we can raise our unified voice to stop the poaching of wolves.
To donate to the fund to catch the poacher of OR-18 contact Wolves of the Rockies via email, FB message or phone.
Email: Marc@Wolvesoftherockies.Org. Phone: 406-493-5945.
Tips can be called in anonymously to 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668)