The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife should be working with the Forest Service to address problematic grazing allotments and practices, not killing wolves.
For Immediate Release
Oregon Authorizes Killing of Harl Butte Wolves
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized the lethal removal of two wolves from the Harl Butte Pack in Wallowa County, Oregon. The pack has had three confirmed depredations on livestock in 2017, two of which were on public land.
Quinn Read, Northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“Defenders of Wildlife is dismayed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to authorize killing wolves. Non-lethal coexistence measures – such as range riders, fox lights, guardian livestock dogs, fladry and proper herd management – are proven to significantly lower the number of depredations. But no method – including killing wolves – will put a stop to losses when livestock are grazed openly in wildlife habitat on national forest lands.
“The territory of the Harl Butte pack is rugged wilderness full of wildlife. It is not suitable for grazing. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife should be working with the Forest Service to address problematic grazing allotments and practices, not killing wolves.
“We also urge the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete the long-delayed revision of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. This situation demonstrates the urgent need for clear and enforceable guidelines on nonlethal management tools, transparency in agency decision-making procedures, and policies that protect our still vulnerable wolf population. Had a new plan with adequate safeguards and guidelines been in place, we might have been able to avoid this tragic outcome.”
- The current Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan allows the agency to consider lethal removal if there have been two confirmed depredations with no time limit.
- The Harl Butte pack has now had 3 confirmed depredation incidents in 2017. The pack is located in Wallowa County and had 10 members at the end of 2016.
- The most recent depredation was confirmed on July 26th. This comes just days after another confirmed depredation on July 22, 2017, also on public land. Before that, there was a confirmed depredation on private land on April 7th. However, there were also three confirmed depredations in between July and October 2016 – two on public land and one on private land – that were later attributed to the Harl Butte pack.
- The last time the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed wolves was in March 2016 when they killed four wolves in the Imnaha pack. There were six separate confirmed depredation incidents within a month, and all of them occurred on private land.
Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan
- The OR Wolf Plan is currently in the process of being updated. There is no timeline for when the plan will be introduced or adopted.
- The first released draft proposed a definition of chronic depredation as 3 confirmed depredations within 12 months. This is a higher standard than the current rule, but the Harl Butte Pack would still meet these requirements.
- Defenders has repeatedly asserted that the proposed definition does not adequately protect wolves.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.