January Wolf & Wildlife Update

For the first time in decades, multiple wolves were confirmed on the slopes of Mt. Hood!
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to wolves and wildlife. Let’s dive into our first update of 2018!

At the start of a new year, the fate of Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery remains up in the air. In December, conservationists including Oregon Wild testified in front of Governor Brown’s Wildlife Commission.

After a year of conflict and killing, we made the case for a stronger, science-based plan that doesn’t allow trophy hunting of our wolves. A panel of livestock industry and recreational hunting representatives argued for more wolf killing.

Everyone was able to agree on one thing - the plan is sloppy and fundamentally flawed.

Not long after, we called on you to call Governor Brown. And you stepped up! Thousands of you flooded the Governor's phone lines and got your friends to do the same. Given her public silence, we don’t know if she’ll step up now, but the Commission tentatively delayed adoption of the flawed plan until April.

Meanwhile, on the ground, ODFW is busy conducting its annual wolf counts. Given a mild winter, there’s no reason the state won’t be able to get a robust count. We are eagerly anticipating the results. Will last year’s seemingly stalled population growth simply be a blip? Or will increased poaching and state-sponsored killing continue take an even greater toll than we feared?

  • For the first time in decades, wolves (plural!) have been confirmed on the East Side of Mt. Hood!
  • New science adds to the case that killing wolves may create more problems than it solves.
  • The Rogue Pack came into conflict with livestock. We’ve reached out to our partners, relevant agencies, and spoken with the livestock owner. Rather than repeat past mistakes, we hope to chart a better path forward than we’ve seen in places like Northeast Oregon.
  • HBO’s Vice News is known for exposés of white supremacists and other frontline reporting. Over the winter, they sent a team to Oregon to learn more about wolves. The story is tentatively scheduled to run on Tuesday, January 23rd.

Wolves and sea otters aren’t the only keystone species that need our help. Thanks to our friends at the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC), the USDA's Wildlife Service has put a (temporary) stop on killing beaver, river otter, and other aquatic wildlife in Oregon.

Speaking of WELC, we recently partnered together on a challenge to the Obama administration’s decision to exclude Oregon in their national lynx recovery plan.

The Trump Administration has taken things a step further, and is arguing for stripping protections altogether. With less than 2,000 known lynx in the lower-48 and at best a remnant population in Oregon, this is absurd. We’ll continue to stand with our partners to ensure recovery of all native wildlife.

Next month, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will begin discussing the future of the Marbled Murrelet! Oregon Wild and our conservation partners have petitioned Oregon to consider moving the troubled seabird from ‘threatened’ to ‘endangered’ under the state Endangered Species Act. The Commission is accepting in-person public comment, so this is an opportunity for you to weigh in.
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting 
Friday, February 9th beginning at 8AM
Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
8235 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220
Continued habitat loss and fragmentation due to Oregon's weak logging rules have resulted in a historically small and vulnerable Oregon Murrelet population. The scientific evidence, as laid out in ODFW’s recent draft status review, clearly identifies a variety of threats driving this imperiled species toward a high probability of extinction. Even ODFW’s own report says that existing programs and regulation have,“failed to prevent continued high rates of habitat loss on non-federal lands in Oregon”; demonstrating that the Marbled Murrelet warrants uplisting to “endangered” status. 
With so much at stake, you can bet 2018 going to be a busy and important year for our wildlife!
So, let’s get ready. Be sure to tell your wildlife loving friends about our efforts. See if you can get at least three to join the Wolf Pack. Tell them to check out our Wild Ones program, and encourage them to follow our wildlife work on Facebook.
And if you haven’t done so in a while, please politely remind Governor Brown that you care about wildlife and expect her to get engaged! Her number is: (503) 378-4582
Photo Credits: 
Public domain wolf photo courtesy ODFW Marbled Murrelet photo courtesy Mike Danzenbaker