This evidence shows that we can exist on the Oregonian landscape side-by-side with wolves. ODFW should be looking at how to support these successes, rather than encouraging reckless lethal removal protocols.

As we continue to work toward recovery of wolves in Oregon, we put our full support behind coexistence efforts. Nonlethal methods are proven to be more effective at preventing conflicts than lethal removal. We stand by coexistence techniques as a necessary tool for wolf recovery in Oregon.

We also call for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to finalize its long-awaited wolf management plan, establishing adequate protections – including the implementation of coexistence measures – to allow a healthy wolf population to fully return to Oregon.

 
Quinn Read, Northwest director for Defenders of Wildlife
PORTLAND, Ore.,
12
April
2018
|
12:09 AM
America/New_York

For Immediate Release

Oregon Wolf Census Overshadowed by Recent Lethal Actions

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released the 2017 Oregon wolf count today. The total number of wolves was 124, up just 11 percent from last year. Breeding pairs returned to their 2015 level of 11, after a concerning decline between 2015 and 2016. Only one additional pack was formed in the state, bringing the total number to 12.

The key observation in this report is the 41 percent decrease in depredations, while wolf populations and breeding pairs – crucial measures of successful recovery – continue to grow. This announcement comes in the same week that ODFW reported another a poaching incident, and approved a lethal removal order on the Pine Creek Pack that has already resulted in the death of a young female wolf.

Quinn Read, Northwest director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

“This evidence shows that we can exist on the Oregonian landscape side-by-side with wolves. ODFW should be looking at how to support these successes, rather than encouraging reckless lethal removal protocols.

“As we continue to work toward recovery of wolves in Oregon, we put our full support behind coexistence efforts. Nonlethal methods are proven to be more effective at preventing conflicts than lethal removal. We stand by coexistence techniques as a necessary tool for wolf recovery in Oregon.

“We also call for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to finalize its long-awaited wolf management plan, establishing adequate protections – including the implementation of coexistence measures – to allow a healthy wolf population to fully return to Oregon.”

Background:

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to remove gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list in 2015. As of December 2015, there were only 110 wolves confirmed in the state. Defenders of Wildlife opposed delisting and requested that the agency first undertake its (then overdue) review and update of the wolf plan. When the Commission nevertheless voted to delist, it did so with the assurance that protections would remain in the wolf plan.

This count is considered a minimum population and includes only wolves that have been explicitly confirmed. A pack is defined as any four or more wolves traveling together in the winter. A breeding pair – which is the most important criterion when determining recovery of a population – is a male and female with at least two pups that survive through the end of the year.

It's now been over two years since delisting, and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has still not finalized its required update of the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The updated plan will dictate how wolves are managed in Oregon for the next five years, and the latest draft includes problematic provisions for hunting and trapping wolves to address conflict between wolves and livestock or other ungulates. A draft proposal was submitted last year and a public comment period was held, but the process was further delayed. Next steps have not been announced, but Defenders of Wildlife is committed to participating in any stakeholder process to ensure that the final plan includes adequate protections so that Oregon's wolves can continue their recovery and dispersal throughout the state.

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.