June Wildlife Update: The Wolf Plan Edition
The recent decision to adopt a weak Wolf Management Plan wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for, but we’re not done fighting for Oregon’s wolves, and hope you’re not either. The team at Oregon Wild would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for the countless actions you’ve taken to ensure that wolf recovery remains on track in Oregon. Onward.
There is no doubt that the final outcome for the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (Wolf Plan) was disappointing. Despite years of stakeholder review and negotiations, thousands of public comments and input, scientific critique, and members of the public giving personal testimony, on June 7th, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to adopt a Wolf Plan that is wholly inadequate to reduce conflict and keep wolves protected. The Wolf Plan includes an extremely low threshold for when wolves can be killed (2 instances of predation in 9 months), and breaks the door wide open for private citizens to hunt and trap wolves. Additionally, the Plan only suggests doing non-lethal conflict prevention, instead of requiring meaningful implementation.
Where do we go from here? Immediately after the Commission vote, The Oregonian reported:
“Governor Brown was clear in her expectations to the agency and the commission: ODFW has a conservation-focused mission,” Kate Kondayen, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in an email. “Efforts in the wolf plan to evaluate depredations and prevent them fail to meet the Governor’s expectations for ensuring the health of the wolf population while also meeting the needs of the ranching community.”
Since Governor Brown is the person who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Governor Brown is the person who can direct the Commission to fix it...
Just like she corrected the state of Oregon’s position on the federal delisting proposal after receiving an outcry from members of the Congressional delegation and the public. In case you missed it, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director, Curt Melcher, submitted a comment to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (without Governor Brown’s approval), highlighting the state agency’s support for federally delisting wolves. In a sharp rebuttal, Governor Brown sent her own letter to USFWS, correcting the state’s opinion. We hope the Governor’s recent efforts to speak up for Oregon’s wolves isn’t an aberration, and that there will be substantive steps taken to reign in Oregon’s rogue wildlife agency.
In Salem, passing legislation to protect wildlife is hard to come by, which is why when one does come along, we celebrate! This legislative session, SB 580-- a bill to prohibit the use of M-44 cyanide devices-- passed and was signed into law by Governor Brown. If you recall, these cyanide “bombs” have not only poisoned people and killed pets, but have also indiscriminately killed non-target wildlife, such as wolves. It’s about time they were banned!
Exciting news out of Wallowa County! “Stormy”, possibly the state’s lone wolverine, was recently captured on a trail camera in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. While wolverines were once prevalent in Oregon, sightings (like this one) are very rare.
IN THE NEWS
*If you liked the photo of the wolverine, then you may get a kick out of this California condor cam in Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, CA. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently partnering with the Yurok Tribe to plan a reintroduction of this endangered species to the northern California skies. Given their wide range, it’s expected they would be in Oregon not long after reintroduction.
*The science is becoming clearer and clearer: killing coyotes is not an effective management tool. Check out the NPR story here.
What do a renowned trophic cascades scientist, Congressman from Portland, and Governor of Washington have in common? They all care about solving critical environmental problems of our time through science and policy and will be hosting an event on July 8th in Portland to discuss how we do that!
If you haven’t already submitted a comment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the proposal to federally delist wolves. Please be sure to do so by July 15th, 2019.