(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)
SALEM, Ore.— The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack in response to repeated livestock losses caused by the pack.
Under Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) associated with the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, ODFW may use lethal control of wolves after confirming two depredations by wolves on livestock in the area. In this case, there were two previous livestock depredations by Imnaha wolves that were confirmed by ODFW within the last week. There were also two cows killed in February, both confirmed as wolf kills.
Lethal control is used only after non-lethal methods have been tried. Landowners in the area have used electrified fladry (flagged fencing known to deter wolves), removed bone piles that can attract wolves, and installed Radio Activated Guard (RAG) boxes that emit a sound when collared wolves draw near. ODFW has been tracking wolf location information received by radio and GPS collars and a range rider is monitoring wolves and protecting livestock in the area. Wolves have also been hazed away from livestock operations. Many landowners in the area have changed grazing practices to reduce the risk of depredation by wolves.
ODFW will target sub-adult wolves, not the breeding pair. ODFW will conduct the operation on private land with livestock operations, in an attempt to kill wolves that are showing an interest in livestock.
“Our ultimate goal is wolf conservation, but we need to respond when chronic livestock losses occur,” said Craig Ely, ODFW NE region manager. “Wolves need to rely on their natural prey, not livestock.”
Wolves from the Imnaha pack were also involved in livestock depredations last year that killed six domestic animals between May and June 2010.
Wolves returned to state management
Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon will again be managed by the state of Oregon after being removed from the federal Endangered Species List today.
The wolves were delisted under legislation attached to the Federal Budget Bill that was signed by President Obama on April 15, 2011.
The legislation, known as a rider, directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List across five western states.
For Oregon, this affects wolves only in the far eastern third of the state (east of Hwys 395-78-95). Wolves west of this boundary remain protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the lead management agency.
Wolves throughout Oregon remain protected by the State Endangered Species Act.
Wolf management in Oregon is guided by the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, first adopted in 2005 after an extensive public process and updated last year. The plan seeks to conserve wolves while protecting the social and economic interests of Oregonians.
“Wolves have made Oregon their home,” said ODFW Wildlife Division Administrator Ron Anglin. “Oregon has a Wolf Plan that allows us to meet the conservation mandate required by state law and manage the inevitable conflict with livestock and other land uses.”
With ODFW now taking over responsibility of wolf management, ranchers and livestock producers need to work directly with ODFW when wolf/livestock conflicts occur east of Hwys 395-78-95. Ranchers that see wolves on their property or suspect wolves have attacked livestock should immediately call ODFW, USDA Wildlife Services or a county official.
Oregon currently has three wolf packs: the Imnaha (10 wolves at latest count), Wenaha (six wolves) and Walla Walla (three wolves). The Walla Walla pack is new and wildlife managers are still trying to determine their range, which could primarily be in Washington State.
More information about Oregon’s wolves is available at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/