November Wildlife Update: Bigger and Better

Walla Walla Pack Wolf by ODFW

I’m excited to share with you that our wildlife team has grown!  The addition of Alijana (Ally) Fisher, our Wildlife and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Associate will give us greater capacity to advocate for the protection of Oregon’s wildlife and the places they call home. Welcome Ally!

--  Danielle Moser 


Over the last several months, it seems the only wolf news I’ve had to share with you was sad, frustrating, or just downright abhorrent. I’m happy to report that for this wolf pack newsletter, things are headed in a better direction! 

For one, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a status review for wolves in the West to determine if relisting is warranted (which we would say unequivocally yes). This comes as a direct result of the aggressive trophy wolf hunts taking place in Idaho and Montana, which undeniably undermine all the recovery efforts that have been taking place for years. Though this status review is open for 12 months, Oregon Wild and partners are pushing the Service to relist wolves now and ensure states like Idaho and Montana can’t continue on this destructive path. If these protections were to be reinstated, that would also include wolves in Western Oregon and Western Washington.

The other bit of great news, though not Oregon-specific, is that a judge in Wisconsin issued a temporary injunction putting a stop to the trophy hunt that was to take place two weeks later. This reprieve buys wildlife advocates some time while federal protections are being considered. Congratulations to those in Wisconsin who worked tirelessly to get this hunt halted! 


It’s not surprising to any of us to know that while Trump was in office, his administration removed necessary protections for a number of imperiled species, habitats, and old-growth forests. In fact, in addition to removing wolves from the endangered species list, one of his final parting shots was to strip millions of acres of critical habitat from the fragile northern spotted owl (NSO). We’re happy to report that earlier this week, the Biden administration overturned that rule and reinstated protections for 3.4 million acres. While this restoration is good, it does not fully restore NSO habitat and leaves hundreds of thousands of acres unprotected.  We will continue to urge the administration to ensure all critical habitat remains protected -- as the NSO remains endangered due to barred owls, logging, and climate change.   
While we’re on the topic of highly imperiled birds -- I urge you to check out our podcast episode about the return of California condors to the Pacific Northwest! You can stream Shadow of the Condor on our website, iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher for free. This podcast will take you through the history of condors in the region, cultural and spiritual importance of the bird to tribes, barriers to their recovery, and ways members of the public can take action and support their return to the Pacific Northwest skies.  


Plans are underway by the Klamath Tribes to restore beaver populations in the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to bringing beavers back to their historic range, the project seeks to save and improve fragile water resources and the wildlife and people that rely on them. 
While it’s great to see coho salmon setting a modern day record, we still have a long way to go to restore this fragile species to their historic numbers.
Tribal youth continue to urge the Department of Interior to reinstate federal wolf protections now.


Coming in 2022, more wildlife-focused webcasts! In January, we’ll be hosting Katie Moriarty - forest wildlife ecologist from Oregon State University who will discuss the extremely rare Pacific fisher and coastal marten in Oregon. The following month, we’ll be welcoming back staff from the Elakha Alliance to give us a thorough overview of the recent sea otter feasibility study. This report is the first (and very important) study to determine if it’s possible for Oregon to reintroduce sea otters back to the coast.


If you haven’t already done so, please send a comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging them to restore federal endangered species protections for wolves in the West.  More information and suggested talking points can be found on the Oregon Wild website.