08:42 PM

Oregon State Wolf Delisting May Impede Recovery


October 08, 2015

Suzanne Stone: sstone@defenders.org; (208) 861-4655
Melanie Gade: mgade@defenders.org ; (202) 772-0288

Oregon State Wolf Delisting May Impede Recovery

BEND, Ore. – In advance of Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Friday meeting to evaluate what level of protection is warranted as wolves continue to recover in Oregon, Defenders of Wildlife today cautioned that moving too quickly to eliminate state endangered species act protections could reverse the positive trends underway in wolf restoration and recolonization.

Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife’s Senior Northwest Representative, issued the following statement:

“Oregon continues to implement strong and balanced management plans for wolves. Because of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s significant efforts to reduce livestock-wolf conflicts using proactive nonlethal methods, today Oregon has fewer livestock losses to wolves than any state with an equal or larger wolf population. That’s a success story that deserves sincere appreciation from all sides.

“While we respect the commission’s need to evaluate the status of wolves in the state, we urge it to avoid removing protections now that would stop or slow wolf recovery in western Oregon. If it alters the status of wolves at all, we would urge the commission to consider downlisting the species from endangered to threatened. This would enable wolves to continue to receive the vital state protections they need while acknowledging that wolf numbers in eastern Oregon have improved.

“Oregon has demonstrated that wolves and livestock conflicts can be successfully minimized, that public needs can be addressed, and that reasonable stakeholder involvement can help enhance the process. We understand that wolves may be eventually delisted as required under the Oregon Endangered Species Act but hope that commissioners will take a cautious approach that maintains Oregon’s successful model of cooperation, conservation and coexistence.”


Background: Wolf populations were eradicated from Oregon by the mid-1930s but were listed as a federally protected species in 1978 and a state protected species in 1987. The first known wolf returning to Oregon was discovered in 1999 and the first breeding pair produced pups born in Oregon in 2008. Wolves were federally delisted in the eastern third of Oregon in 2012 as part of the 2011 Congressional budget rider that removed federal protection for wolves in Idaho and Montana. In the western two-thirds of Oregon, wolves are still federally protected.

Working with ODFW and a variety of other stakeholders, Defenders helped develop and enhance Oregon’s state wolf management plan, the document that sets the rules for how wolves will be managed state wide. The plan calls for consideration of delisting wolves once phase I and phase II have been achieved and that wolves are to be delisted by the time that phase III is reached. Wolves in Oregon are still within two years of reaching phase III (seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years).                         


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 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 www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.