Friday Trash

Late Friday, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife issued additional kill orders for wolves. Oregon Wild put out an unequivocal statement, but it looks like we may have taken it too easy on Governor Brown’s agency. 
Upon closer inspection, the absurdity is staggering. It’s worse than simply killing wolves to appease an industry that runs their destructive cows on our public lands for $0.03/animal/day (less than it costs to take care of a hamster). Consider:
  • The kill order allows livestock managers to kill any wolves of the pack - including pups.
  • Livestock managers in the area continue to be in possession of telemetry equipment provided at taxpayer expense for non-lethal conflict prevention.
  • The decision was withheld from the public until late Friday despite being based on information available since last Sunday.
  • Buried in the Friday news release, ODFW revealed that a wolf killed by a livestock manager nearly a month ago (news that was also dumped out after 4:30pm on a Friday) was the breeding female of that pack. 
  • The most recent kill order was requested by Todd Nash. Mr. Nash is one Oregon’s most vocal advocates for killing wolves. As an unregistered lobbyist for the livestock industry he has asked for wolf-free zones, publication of specific wolf locations, permission to kill wolves without qualification, and he has been involved in the majority of kill orders issued by ODFW. Nash is the local manager for a California livestock operation and a neophyte politician. Running on his anti-wolf cred, he recently won office with something just shy of 1,800 votes. In that role he actively lobbies the state on matters including ODFW funding.
  • ODFW has banned the public from asking questions or having conversations about wolves on their Facebook pages.
  • In the last 3 months, ODFW has authorized the killing of 10 wolves to address the loss of 8 unattended calves to those packs this year. At last count Oregon is home to over 1.3 million cows and 8 known breeding pairs of wolves. 
  • As part of our statewide volunteer wildlife monitoring program, Oregon Wild has several remote cameras on public lands in the core of Harl Butte Pack territory. Since early summer, we have collected over 6,000 photos with identifiable subjects. Nearly 93% are of cows and calves. Just 3.5% are of deer and elk.
    • We also have photos of ODFW wolf hunters regularly driving their vehicles off-road in sensitive areas and in clear violation of fire restrictions at the height of fire season.
  • All of this has occurred under an outdated Wolf Plan. The review of that plan was illegally delayed so the state could prematurely and illegally delist wolves from state endangered species protections. They did so against the counsel of independent scientists and the overwhelming majority of the public.
  • ODFW will vote on a revised plan in January. The draft has been unequivocally criticized by several independent scientists as biased and for misrepresenting their research. The overwhelming majority of the public has also weighed in against the plan.
    • From 2012 to 2015 all active stakeholders supported the plan. Now the only stakeholder supporting the draft proposal is the Oregon Hunters Association. That organization has advocated for "leaving the door open" to trophy hunting, explicitly following Idaho's lead, and is represented by the spouse of a commissioner who is the most influential voice on carnivore issues.
  • Since her public promise that things wouldn't go awry and despite receiving thousands of phone calls and e-mails and a letter from 18 conservation groups, Governor Brown has maintained her public silence on the Wolf Plan and ODFW's wolf killing program.

Putting out unpopular news in "The Friday Trash" (when reporters are wrapping up for the week) is an old trick usually used by politicians to avoid public scrutiny of indefensible decisions. It's sad to see a public agency stoop to that level. However given the level of absurdity in their ongoing wolf killing campaign, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise.

If you think ODFW should do better, be sure to let Governor Brown know. You can call (503) 378-4582. Let us know if you get a response. If you want to do more, be sure to join the Oregon Wild One's team.

Photo Credits
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild