**Guest post by Adam Bronstein, Oregon/Nevada Director for Western Watersheds Project

In the past year, the gray wolf has once again been in the national spotlight due to terrible changes in federal and state policies. Last October, wolves nationwide lost protections under the federal Endangered Species Act despite their low numbers or complete absence from suitable habitats in most western states, including here in Oregon, where the return of wolves is still in its early days. Then, in recent months, the states of Idaho and Montana have adopted new draconian hunting and trapping policies that ensure the continued persecution and slaughter of wolves in those states, with the clear political goal of reducing wolf numbers to the minimum populations allowed by federal law. Wolf management by the western states is pushing the species back towards the Endangered Species list. Conservation and animal welfare groups and Indigenous organizations have asked Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to relist and protect wolves under federal authority.

The pattern of anti-wolf management holds here in Oregon, too. Wolves are still being killed for the sake of livestock production despite the wolves still having protected status under state laws. During the last two weeks, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) authorized the killing of up to five wolves from two different packs in Baker and Umatilla counties because of livestock predation on both private and public lands. ODFW has reportedly only killed two of the five wolves so far, but the two were both just pups, only three-and-a-half months old and certainly not a direct threat to livestock. Killing wolf puppies is a despicable practice, and it must not become a pattern. These senseless killings should be condemned by all Oregonians.

To reduce conflict between livestock and wildlife, cattle and sheep should be removed from the public lands. Domestic grazers destroy native vegetation, trample fragile riparian areas and outcompete and displace native wildlife like elk, mule deer and antelope. The livestock industry has shaped the landscape for over 150 years, dewatered and polluted our rivers and streams, cost us our topsoil, spread flammable invasive weeds, and captured land management agencies for far too long already. The wildlife in Oregon “belongs” to all of us and we should no longer tolerate business-as-usual where ranchers rule the roost and call the shots. Sixty-six percent of Oregonians support protections for the gray wolf but the wishes of the majority are grossly underrepresented in government policies that allow cattle to take precedence over wildlife protection. It is time to give native wildlife and ecosystem health a seat at the table.

The gray wolf needs our support to finally end over a century of violent eradication efforts and wildlife management that has been based on fear and myth rather than science. Oregon must do better than our neighbors who can’t seem to reckon with the 21st century understanding that native predators benefit ecosystems and that our forests and grasslands have suffered in their absence. The return of wolves to Oregon is a benefit to all of us which should be widely celebrated. The recent kill orders — and the dead wolf pups — are inexcusable.

 

Adam Bronstein is the Oregon/Nevada Director with Western Watersheds Project, a non-profit organization working to protect public lands and native wildlife across the West.

 
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About The Author

Greta Anderson

Greta Anderson is a plant nerd, a desert rat, and a fan of wildness. She is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project and lives on the land of the Tohono O'Odham and Yaqui people in what is now called Arizona. Greta's opinions and world views are not necessarily reflected in the posts of other authors on this blog.

11 Responses to Oregon is better than this. Stop killing wolves.

  1. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    What worries me is if that these states are allowed to bring numbers to the lowest allowed by law, that they’ll go even lower than that due to these stubborn irrational beliefs, poaching and illegal killings.

    Once they are gone, they’re gone. 🙁

  2. avatar Oakley Taylor says:

    We’ll put, Gretchen. Thank you!

  3. avatar Laurie says:

    I so appreciate your post. I’m very angered that Deb Haaland has taken zero action to stop the wolf massacres. It seems to me the Interior Dept is infested with pro-livestock employees. We need to support wildlife causes that sue the government and that work with supportive legislators. Wolves are responsible for very, very few losses of livestock. The wolf killers, I believe, get some sick satisfaction out of killing them.

  4. avatar Jim Dundee says:

    Thanks a lot to the cattleman’s association for buying off sleazy politicians who care less about doing the right thing for a living creature vs putting $$$ into their political campaign.
    I’m appalled at the gall of week kneed governors blabbing their mouths off about eradicating wolves. Not just pertaining to private landowners but including publicly owned BLM land. Wisconsin,Idaho,Montana I’m calling you out. Your nothing but a bunch of weak kneed yellow bellies.
    I really don’t care if you publish my email.
    Bring it on!

  5. avatar Gail says:

    Very articulate post.

  6. avatar KC York says:

    Thank you, Adam. You nailed it. Not sure what all it’s going to take but there is no doubt the pendulum has swung too far. Logic, reasoning, ethics, economics, the facts, the science support our position as well as the majority of the public for wolves and other predators rightful place on the landscape. If they are targeted, destroyed, and not supported even on public lands outside national parks, where can they exist? According to Montana FWP, roughly 25,000 comments were submitted re: Montana’s wolf proposals with the majority in opposition to the indiscriminate and unethical war declared upon them. Yet, the handwriting is basically on the wall for the disastrous decisions that will soon be made. Far more than wolves will suffer.

  7. avatar Becky says:

    We need to stop allowing sheep and cattle on our public lands. Why don’t the citizens get a say in how our land is used? It is time this country stopped putting the almighty dollar ahead of everything else. We must tale care of our natural resources and environment. Humans encroach on these animals’ land before they encroach on humans’ land. Those poor, poor wolf families.

  8. avatar Maggie Frazier says:

    It appears Oregon is NOT “better than this”! Neither are Utah, Wyoming, Idaho etc etc.
    Seems like the only little bit of protection these prey species have is if (BIG if) they are listed as Endangered Species. Even then – our wildlife – whether native species or not, arent safe from the “hordes” who want nothing more than to kill them – any and all of them.
    Really good article – all true. But the only people whose opinions seem to count are hunters,& ranchers – not the opinions of people who oppose this slaughter.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I just knew it – the number of comments, any kind of review, all out the window.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      And then, the USF&W filing a Motion for Summary Judgement on the court case for wolf relisting, while they ‘monitor and watch the situation’. It’s going to go right back to pre-1970s right before their eyes, and probably the 1800s.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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