An American icon in the crosshairs? Bush's delisting plans harmful to wolf recovery in Oregon

Few animals stir up as much emotion and heated debate as gray wolves. In many ways these majestic predators are the symbol of American wilderness, of wild places that have not yet been clear-cut or paved over. They were once common throughout Western America, including Oregon, but a misguided policy of using tax dollars to fund extermination programs drove them to the brink of extinction.Today gray wolves represent the beginning of a great American conservation success story. Because of the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act, and the hard work of countless biologists, landowners and concerned citizens, wolves are making a strong comeback.But in February, the Bush administration announced plans to remove western gray wolves from the endangered species list and hand over management to state governments. The proposal comes as a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means wolf populations are rebounding, at least in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — there are still no confirmed wolf packs here in Oregon. But it also means the feds will hand the keys over to states like Idaho, which could spell disaster for Idaho’s wolves and wolf recovery in Oregon.This is from a guest opinion in the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal. Read the full story. (Link has been moved or deleted by Statesman Journal)



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  1. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    This article hits at the heart of the delisting problem. The power and control is really in the hands of the Governer of the State. And that is so dishearting to me. You know that RLU (raised leg unrination) thang.
    Also, how they have contained/controlled the wolf to those three states.

  2. Wolfen Avatar

    Regardless of what you beleive or call a ‘delisting problem’ each state has well over the # of wolves and wolf packs that was required for delisting to occur. If Wyoming had an acceptable plan in addition to Idaho and Montana plans then the wolf delisting process could have proceeded years ago. You should be thanking the state of Wyoming for holding out for this long. As a result there are now many more wolves in these three states than there would have been if the delisting process started at the time Montana and Idaho’s wolf management plan was accepted.

    Wolves are here to stay and will never again be delisted. That was one of my worries was delisting them then the states overmanaging them to the minimum of 10 wolf packs in each state and then relisting again. I received a personal mail from Gov. Otter with that very question in mind. Although he may sound irrational in front of audiences and in public at least his letter to me assurred that wolf packs in Idaho would be well maintained above the minimum required. So for all you wolf advocates, there is some hope.

  3. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    Bully for you that you and Gov. Butcher Otter are on such a FRIENDLY BASES.
    Where did he get his degree in wildlife management????
    You know he has the power to appoint people that DO NOT oppose his position, and replace anyone that has a differing stance than his.
    So why are you not addressing my point?
    Where do you and the Gov. leave room for dispersing to adjoining states????
    Maybe you need to refer to the article that was posted… You really seem to be hung-up on the minimum number of wolves allowed. Or should I say, number of wolves that will be left in the three states. And the GOV’s personal assurances to you! Could he be looking for your vote???

    Most of the people that have attended the meetings seem to oppose the delisiting plans, for this very reason.

    However we do agree on one point…Its a good thing that Wyoming hasn’t got approval of their submitted plans.

    You know… opinions are like assholes, everybodies got one!

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Maybe you know this, but Governor Otter sendt out this letter to a lot of people. I think he realized that his widely-covered statement could be cited in court as indicating he had no real intent to conserve the wolf recovery, and the wolf might not be delisted as a result of what he said.

  5. Wolfen Avatar

    I did not address your point because I did not find a point to address. What is it other than ……….? I do not necessarily care for the governor either but I do put a little faith and trust that he will do something right.

    If you do not or cannot support anything he does then move to another state. I have an uncle who was so disgusted with the Feds that he finally quit his job, tore up his SS number and moved to northern Idaho to basically hide out the rest of his life. As such he is no longer known to exist in life anymore on the government records. He will never receive any SS benefits and he still works but asks to be paid in cash for all the work he does. He sacrificed a good paying job with benefits, retirement and all because he lost faith in the government and no longer could trust him.

    If you were to this point then why don’t you do the same. Otherwise, if you don’t then do not bitch, whine, and cry to me about siding with the Governor. You must also because you continue paying your taxes to the state to carry out whatever they do even if you do not like it. As I said in other posts…..Don’t be hypocritical, and I think you know what I mean.

  6. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    WOLFEN… So what’s your point???? DON’T THINK YOU GIVE GOOD ADVICE….Wow, talk about over the edge!
    Such hostility…chill out dude!
    Ralph, I didn’t know it was a form letter. Thanks for passing that on…I will in the future concider WOLFENS source.

  7. Wolfen Avatar

    So do I have to explain to you that I did not have a point also. Figure it out yourself. I was not trying to make a point but you claim you were. Nor am I trying to give advice. I already got all the hostility out of my system this morning. Now, I guess it is your turn.

  8. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson


  9. elkhunter Avatar

    That is how Denise Johnson is. She attacks you, then if you say something back, she turns it around and tells you not to get so hostile. She does the same thing to me. Wolfen you have good points, those are the same reasons I dont want wolves going to other states.

  10. kt Avatar

    “If you do not or cannot support anything he does then move to another state”.

    No, you work to get him either:

    1) UN-elected next go-round

    2) Much better: Removed from office for general buffoonery, ignorance and cronyism for ag interests – including the cattle industry of his ex-father in law and source of all wealth and influence for Otter — Simplot.

  11. jeanne Avatar

    I’m grateful to Wyoming for not coming up with a plan for wolves in their state, it gave our Idaho wolves some reprieve for awhile. As far as Gov. Otter goes, he’s supported by the agricultural businesses and Cattlemen’s Association so don’t let him lull you into believing he wouldn’t destroy ALL Idaho wolves if he could. There is a possibility of adding wolves to the big game list for hunting, and Otter stated, in the newspaper, that he wanted to buy the first permit.
    We live on a mountain in the Clearwater National Forest. Yesterday a grey wolf ran across the trail further ahead during my husband’s walk, he said the wolf was mostly black. He saw two grey wolves last year near our property. We recognize the difference between coyotes, dogs, and wolves after having spent half of our lives living in the southern desert of Idaho near coyotes and years ago living in the mountains where I raised REAL wolf pups to adulthood, and we’ve also had dogs all of our lives. So we recognize the differences. These were wolves that he saw. There are also elk and deer here, lots of tracks everywhere so obviously wolves are not a problem. This is also open range for cattle, and there have been no reports of wolf kills. Wolves killing dogs?…The dog owners can blame themselves for that. Government reports say that wolves are killing Idaho elk, but the next government reports say that it’s the growth in the human population and loss of elk habitat that are reducing elk numbers…nobody can agree on anything except that they can’t bear the thought of not killing something so it may as well be wolves.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan