Wolves: The good, bad, and ugly
Keeping up with western wolf issues is about as hectic as following celebrity gossip. Here's what's new
Oregon's first pack - the Imnaha - is down to the 4 members shown here. That pack and it's offspring OR7 continue to make news. (photo ODFW)
Keeping up with western wolf issues is about as hectic as following celebrity gossip. You can always keep up to date with the Oregon Wild Wolf News archive, but below is a summary of some of the most recent relevant - and in this case, historic - wolf news.
Killing Wolves in Oregon:
Sadly, if not unexpectedly, Governor Kitzhaber and ODFW have dug in their heels on their wolf killing program. Though the Imnaha Pack has not been blamed for any more livestock losses, the state is continuing to fight to kill two members of Oregon’s first wolf pack.
At taxpayer expense, the state went to court last week to defend the killing of endangered wolves. It seems they don’t want to wait for a judge to tell them whether it’s even legal or not. They are joined in their effort by a group of cattle counties, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (including anti-wolf activists Rod Childers & Todd Nash), and - sadly - a cadre of anti-predator hunting groups.
You can tell Governor Kitzhaber how you feel about your taxpayer dollars being spent fighting alongside anti-wildlife interest groups to defend the state-sponsored killing of wolves.
In his (must read) book Lasso the Wind, author Timothy Eagan follows a glowing description of Oregon’s wolf country with this:
"For all its natural radiance the Wallowa Valley is a place where the crosswinds of history blow hard and sharp, bringing a hint of some distant bloodletting over power and land. Running people out of town is an old habit”.
It turns out that for old habits die hard for some folks. Some of the very same people who once hung our Executive Director in effigy were on hand for a recent planning meeting. They were there in an effort to stop the expansion of a successful local business. The reason? Because the owners are suspected of being pro-wolf, have embraced ecotourism, and worse yet – they welcomed Oregon Wild members, staff, families, and supporters to stay at their bed and breakfast. Here’s a quote from the article:
Wallowa County rancher Todd Nash objected to the proposal because the Hunters’ have hosted members of Oregon Wild at the Daggett Lane property and their current business on Alder Slope outside of Enterprise, Barking Mad Bed and Breakfast.
‘I don’t have a problem with people trying to make money,’ Nash said, ‘but Oregon Wild has spent a considerable amount of time at Diana’s on Alder Slope and they are suing Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; two other ranchers and I are filing as interveners along with Oregon Cattlemen in the suit.’”
Bullying is nothing new for the anti-wolf crowd, but it’s rare that it’s ever so public. With Wallowa County struggling economically it’s sad to see the county considering shutting down a business because of the perceived political views of its customers. It’s also a bit ironic for the heroes of private property rights to now be arguing against them.
If you’re heading out to Oregon’s wolf country, we strongly encourage you to patronize the Hunters current Bed and Breakfast – Barking Mad Farm. We’d also encourage you to contact the local chamber of commerce.
Let them know that the presence of wolves and other abundant wildlife is part of why you want to visit the area, but discriminating against local businesses and visitors because of their political views is unacceptable in the 21st century.
Contact the Wallowa County Chambersof Commerce here.
Gunning (trapping, etc) for wolves:
The quotaless wolf hunt in Idaho is well underway and trapping season will start soon. So far the death toll in Idaho stands at 114. Montana’s gun and archery hunt has so far claimed the lives of 60 wolves. But that’s not enough for some.
Montana is considering a measure to extend the wolf hunting season in an effort to kill 220 of the animals (nearly 40% of the population) that were on the endangered species list just a few short months ago.
Imagine if we managed bald eagles in the same way. But that's enough bad news...
The Good News:
After falling from a high of 26 to only 14 confirmed wolves, Oregon is now home to at least 23 confirmed wolves by the same measure. With the confirmation of a new pack of wolves near the Idaho border that includes a pup, Oregon is also now home to 4 confirmed packs and 3 pups.
Though Oregon’s first wolf pack – the Imnaha – remains at risk and has been reduced to only 4 members, some of its offspring are making history!
A two year old male from the pack – OR7 – has made his way across Oregon and was recently tracked to the Rogue-Umpqua Divide west of the Cascade crest. That he was within miles of where Oregon’s last wolf bounty was collected in 1947 provides a rare moment of historical symmetry. OR7 is now the first wolf to be confirmed west of the Cascades in nearly 65 years. He’s still on the move and was last confirmed near Upper Klamath Lake. You can track his journey on our new OR7 page.
Though his journey is making news around the country, there aren't any pictures of OR7, and it certainly isn't much of a name. That's why earlier today Oregon Wild announced a naming and art contest to draw attention to wolf recovery which stands with the recovery of bald eagles and gray whales as one of America's greatest conservation success stories.
It was 3-years ago that members of the Oregon Wild Wolf Pack named a wolf Sophie. That wolf - formerly known as B300 - was the first to successfully raise pups in Oregon in over half a century. OR7 is one of her pups. We hope that by getting people more informed and engaged in wolf recovery through the contest, OR7 will be safer from those who might otherwise be tempted to kill an unknown and anonymous wolf.