For Immediate Release

Oregon Wild Statement on Proposal to Strip Protections from Gray Wolves

Oregon's leading conservation group opposes premature decision based on politics rather than sound science or conservation values.
PORTLAND, OREGON Apr 26, 2013

Several sources have reported the Obama administration is proposing a rule to remove endangered species protections from wolves across most of the lower-48 United States.

The proposed rule has yet to hit the federal register, but has already drawn strong criticism from prominent conservationists and scientists around the country. The proposal would affect the western two-thirds of Oregon where only one wolf (Journey / OR-7) is known to live.

Below is the statement of Rob Klavins, Wildlife Advocate for Oregon Wild:

"The Obama administration seems intent on throwing wolves to the Tea Party.

"The purposeful extermination of wolves in the last century was an environmental tragedy. Their recovery is one of America's greatest conservation success stories, and demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act works.

"This is the type of news conservation-minded Americans should be able to celebrate, but the job of wolf recovery is far from complete. State management is likely to lead to a return to aggressive wolf killing. When gray whales and bald eagles were delisted from the Endangered Species Act, states didn't immediately restart the whaling industry or hold hunts to reduce eagle populations back to their absolute minimums.

"While most Americans value native wildlife and want to see wolf recovery, a small, but vocal minority have turned wolf management into a proxy battle for a political debate that has little to do with wolves. It's unfortunate and tragic that the Obama administration has bowed to that pressure."

Wolf recovery in Oregon remains tenuous. The state is home to only 47 confirmed wolves in six packs. Nearly half the state's wolves are less than a year old, and only one is known to be living in Western Oregon.

"The purposeful extermination of wolves in the last century was an environmental tragedy. Their recovery is one of America’s greatest conservation success stories, and demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act works.

In 2011, wolves were stripped of federal protections in much of the west (including Eastern Oregon) as part of a budget deal. Since that time, state management of wolves has been controversial and, many argue, counterproductive. Over 1,000 wolves have been killed for recreation in the Northern Rockies alone.

  • Under Idaho's aggressive wolf killing program the wolf population dropped 11% in 2012  while livestock losses increased 81%.
  • In Washington the state killed an entire pack of wolves by helicopter at taxpayer expense.
  • Hunters in Wyoming and Montana have been targeting collared wolves on the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. These wolves are valuable for scientific research and known around the world.

Meanwhile, in Oregon in 2012, the state's wolf killing program was put on a court-ordered hold. The wolf population increased. Responsible ranchers worked to prevent conflict and co-exist with wildlife, resulting in a significant decrease in conflict between the livestock industry and wolves. Only four cows were lost to wolves in Oregon in the entire year.

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