Take Action for Oregon's Wolves in 2015

2015 is poised to be one of the most consequential years for Oregon’s wolf recovery since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973.  

Wolves in Oregon: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, due to a deliberate effort to eradicate the species, wolves were regionally extinct by the late 1940s and remained so for over half a century. After a hard-fought legal settlement, Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery is back on track under the most progressive wolf conservation plan in the country. We now have a population of 77 wolves – however, 70 of those are isolated in the northeast corner of Oregon. (For more info, click here.)

ESA Status: The Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) is much more protective than the State ESA and trumps Oregon state law. At the moment, wolves across the state are listed as endangered by the weaker State ESA, which provides basic protection from sport hunting and trapping. In Western Oregon, wolves remain protected by the Federal ESA. However, in Eastern Oregon, wolves were stripped of Federal protections in 2011. (For more info, click here.)

Politics: Though Oregon’s Wolf Management Plan is working for all but the most anti-wolf interests, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) is reigniting old conflicts by caving to political pressure and giving serious consideration to weakening basic protections for wolves, allowing ranchers the flexibility to shoot them if they are believed to be posing a threat to livestock. Despite an increase in Oregon’s wolf population, depredation incidents have actually decreased. Nationwide, wolves were responsible for less livestock deaths than domestic dogs or vultures, with only 3.7% of livestock losses to predators blamed on wolves. The biggest livestock killer in the US is not a predator, it is respiratory disease and other illnesses.

This spring, the ODFW Commission will be making two important decisions that could determine the future of wolves in Oregon: 1) they are considering removing our 77 wolves from the State Endangered Species Act, and 2) they will be revising Oregon's Wolf Management Plan, which could reduce protections on the ground. Both of these decisions require – and need – public input.

In Salem, another legislative session is under way, and anti-wolf interest groups are lobbying hard for legislation to remove protections for wolves.

What We Are Doing:  Here at Oregon Wild, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure science and 21st century American conservation values get an equal hearing. We strongly encourage the majority of citizens who value native wildlife to speak as loudly and regularly as those who are stuck in an 19th century mindset. We are currently attending ODFW Commission meetings, testifying at these meetings, writing letters to our elected officials, lobbying legislators, organizing training sessions for community activists, analyzing science, facilitating outreach and conducting media interviews.

We are doing everything we can for wolves, but we cannot do it alone. We need your help!

How You Can Help!

  • Write letters to the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission. Have your kids draw pictures and send in their own letters as well! Include your name and address. (Talking points are below.)
    • Email: odfw.commission@state.or.us
    • Mailing Address: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, Attn: Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE Salem, OR 97302
    • Phone: (503)947-6000
  • Attend and provide comments at the upcoming ODFW Commission meetings. Dates below. Presenting written and/or oral testimony makes a huge difference!
  • Give young people a voice through the Kids Howl Campaign -- submit letters and artwork from young people (K-12th grade) who care about wolves.
    • Include any message, from one sentence to a page that expresses their feelings about wolves. It could be as simple as "I love wolves" or "Please protect our wolves." Anything that comes from their heart.
    • Letters/artwork will be submitted to the ODFW Commission for their April 24th meeting.
    • Submissions should be on 8 1/2 x 11 paper -- include name, age, and city
    • Submission deadling: April 21st (just in time for Earth Day)
    • Send to: Oregon Wild, c/o Stephanie, 5825 N. Greeley Ave., Portland, OR 97217
    • Questions? Contact Joanie Beldin at joanibldn@gmail.com, 503-285-0648
  • Join the Oregon Wild Ones! Oregon Wild Ones offers FREE TRAINING SESSIONS to community members on how to effectively advocate for wolves and other wildlife.

Key Dates: (RSVP by contacting Quinn Read at qr@oregonwild.org)

  • April 24th - ODFW Commission Meeting - Bend, OR
    This meeting will be the beginning of the delisting process.
    Action: Comments and public testimony presented and turned in
  • April 29th - Oregon Wild's 2015 Wildlife Lobby Day! - Salem, OR
    You'll have a chance to meet with your own elected officials and talk to them face-to-face about the wildlife issues that matter most to you.
    RSVP here today!
  • June 5th - ODFW Commission Meeting - Salem, OR
    This meeting will continue the delisting process.
    Action: Comments and public testimony presented and turned in
  • August 7th - ODFW Commission Meeting - Salem, OR
    This meeting ODFW will present results of de-listing process.
    Action: Comments and public testimony presented and turned in.

Prepare! (RSVP at our Wild Ones Events and Activist Opportunities Page)

  • April 22, 6:00pm  - Public Speaking & Testifying 101 -- Wolf campaign focus
    Oregon Wild Office - 5825 North Greeley, Portland, OR 97217
  • May 6, 6:00pm - Interacting with the media -- LTEs, Op-Eds
    Oregon Wild Office - 5825 North Greeley, Portland, OR 97217
  • May 20, 6:00pm - Persuasive writing for decision makers -comments, talking points & phone banking for wolves
    Oregon Wild Office - 5825 North Greeley, Portland, OR 97217
  • June 3, 6:00pm Activism in your pocket -- Using your phone camera and social media to make a difference
    Oregon Wild Office - 5825 North Greeley, Portland, OR 97217

Talking Points:

  • Oregon's identity is largely based on its commitment to conservation. Wildlife is an important part of that.
  • I value wolves and other native wildlife.
  • Oregon has been a model for other states in ensuring wolf recovery while reducing unnecessary conflict.
  • Wolf recovery in Oregon is a great conservation success story, but 77 wolves in the entire state doesn’t mean “recovered.”
  • Oregon's wolves are a long way from a meaningful recovery.
  • Follow the science, follow the law, and honor Oregon's conservation values by maintaining basic State ESA protections for wolves.

Download this information in a handy printable format!