February Wildlife Update: Wolves Regain Protections

Indigo pack wolf: ODFW

Taking A Moment To Celebrate

Too often, it seems most news about wildlife recovery and efforts to protect imperiled species is doom and gloom. That’s why it’s particularly exciting to share with you good news when it does manage to come our way. Read this month’s newsletter to learn more about these recent (and important) victories!

To kick things off, earlier this month a federal judge ruled in favor of restoring endangered species protections for wolves in Western Oregon and 43 other states! Hooray! 

This decision to relist wolves overturns a terrible Trump administration rule that was finalized just before he left office. And while it’s important we take a moment to enjoy the good news, we still have more work to do to restore protections for ALL wolves across the country. If you recall, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is still reviewing the status for the Northern Rocky Mountain Population (which includes wolves in Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana) to determine if relisting is warranted (because these two segments of the population were delisted separately). So if you haven’t already done so, please be sure to submit a comment letter today

Ideally, the wolf update would end there. Unfortunately, (and hence the comment that most wildlife news is doom and gloom), there was yet again another wolf poaching in Oregon. For those keeping track, that brings the total to 10 wolves poached within 12 months, all in Eastern Oregon. This one, which was illegally killed on February 15th, is known as OR 109 - a black collared female that was residing in the Catherine Creek Wildlife Management Unit. This abhorrent and terrifying trend continues to underscore why Oregon needs to take poaching more seriously and additionally, why wolves need protections reinstated now.

Science and Research
A new scientific essay was just published about the need for an ethical dialogue in wolf management. To read those essays, click on the links below. 
Science and Ethics Agree: Coexistence Must Replace Killing Wolves (Part I)
Science and Ethics Agree: Coexistence Must Replace Killing Wolves (Part II)

Jumping back into good news, the Oregon legislative session is just about over (remember, it’s only 5 weeks long in even numbered years) and thankfully, there’s reason to celebrate! Oregon Wild and our wildlife conservation partners were able to successfully stop two major threats which would have undermined wildlife conservation efforts in the state. The first bill we put an end to was the policy which would have allocated an additional $1 million to the wolf compensation fund - essentially allowing much of those additional funds to pay for missing livestock. Our argument was that until the program has undergone a wholesale review and update, we cannot keep giving more money to it. That messaging worked and the bill was successfully killed.

The other bill we stopped in its tracks was one which would have allowed predator damage control districts to be reestablished, thus allowing these quasi government entities to raise funds to kill “predators” like black bear, cougars, beaver, and even wolves. Giving more money to Wildlife Services (the wildlife killing arm of the US Department of Agriculture) to kill predators without any requirement to use non-lethal measures is a no-go for conservation-minded Oregonians. Happily, that bill died too. 


Here’s a neat story about the elusive Sierra Nevada Red Fox, found in Central Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. 

Spectacular. Powerful. Inspiring. A look at the 2022 Underwater Photographer of the Year winners. 

Learn about another threat to Sage Grouse recovery in Eastern Oregon: roadkill. 

We have a lot of wildlife-specific webcasts coming up in the next months (freshwater mussels, belted kingfisher, marine mammals), so be sure to check out our website and register to reserve your spot. 

If you’d like wildlife news and other updates in real-time, be sure to sign up for our Oregon Wolves and Wildlife Facebook page.