Since 2011 -- after a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies -- a court order has temporarily protected Oregon's wolves from being killed for livestock-related conflicts. But recently all parties except the Center reached a settlement agreement.
Though some terms of the agreement improve the state's wolf plan, others made matters far worse. So instead of settling, we decided to keep fighting for Oregon's wolves.
With the current no-kill order in place, agencies and ranchers have relied solely on nonlethal measures to keep wolves away from livestock. The wolf population has doubled, and livestock depredations are few. Unfortunately the settlement agreement doesn't require a permit to kill endangered wolves when they are caught in the act of attacking -- or even just chasing -- livestock or working dogs. It also allows wolves to be killed for four livestock depredations within six months, even though that time frame could extend across three seasons.
Please call the governor and tell him that Oregon's endangered wolves deserve stronger protections.
Governor John Kitzhaber: (503) 378-4582
Here are some talking points you can use when you call:
I am calling to strongly oppose House Bill 3452. I don't want endangered wolves -- or any endangered species -- to be intentionally killed.
H.B. 3452 overrides Oregon's state wolf plan -- endangered wolves could be killed without a permit for attacking or even chasing livestock and working dogs. “Chasing” is a highly subjective standard; it puts wolves at risk of unjustified killing. It's also unreasonable for wolves to be killed for conflicts with domestic dogs. Wolf biologists agree that the presence of dogs in wolf territory is perceived by wolves as a threat to survival.
H.B. 3452 also allows wolves to be killed if they're involved in four livestock-depredation incidents during a six-month time span -- even though this length of time could span three seasons. During the six-month period from spring to fall, livestock grazing locations and vulnerabilities change dramatically. This makes it harder to implement appropriate nonlethal conflict methods to prevent wolf-livestock incidents. From spring to fall is also when killed wolves leave behind orphaned pups, unable to survive on their own.
The recovery of Oregon's wolves is in its infancy. For the past year and a half, a court order has prohibited the killing of endangered wolves. In that time period, agencies and ranchers have relied solely on preventative methods to avoid livestock losses -- the wolf population has nearly doubled and livestock depredations have been few. Please do everything in your power to prevent H.B. 3452 from becoming law.
Gray wolf photo courtesy Flickr/USFWS Midwest Region.