Expert says wolf presence locally should be no surprise

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

VALE – An Oregon wolf expert said Malheur County has habitat that would be attractive to wolves.

“If there is food available, it would not surprise me wolves are there,” said John Williams, an extension agent with the Wallowa office of Oregon State University.

Williams said an interview last week that he wasn’t aware of the recent cattle deaths near Beulah Reservoir. Six cattle deaths have been confirmed as wolf related by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, but classified as “other” by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Williams is familiar with Malheur County, having made several presentations to local groups such as the Malheur Watershed Council.

For eight years Williams has researched the relationship between cattle and wolves in Oregon and Idaho. In 2010, Williams authored a study maintaining the presence of wolves in an area costs a rancher $261 per . . .