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Wildlife Services removes cyanide traps after wolf accidentally killed

SALEM — Wildlife officials say they have removed cyanide traps from some areas after one unintentionally killed a gray wolf in rural northeast Oregon.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services State Director Dave Williams said his agency is in talks with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages wolves, about how to prevent future wolf deaths, The Capital Press reported Wednesday.

Wildlife Services has removed the cyanide traps from areas identified as places where wolves are present, according to Williams.

ODFW Wildlife Division Administrator Doug Cottam said his department appreciates that the traps have been removed.

"We also recognize we want to increase our communication between our agencies," he said. "We want to develop a more effective system to ensure that Wildlife Services' staff working in areas with wolves know what ODFW knows about wolf activity."

The federal government's Wildlife Services division was using a cyanide device known as an M-44 to kill coyotes and "prevent coyote-livestock conflict" on the private property in Wallowa County when a gray wolf was killed Feb. 26.

The federal agency kills predators that damage or pose a threat to property, humans or livestock and describes the M-44s as effective management tools.

Williams, the Wildlife Services state director, said he wants to prevent future wolves from being killed, not focus on where to place the blame for the creature that died. He said the February incident is the first time the agency has killed a wolf in Oregon.