January Wildlife Update: New Year, Renewed Commitment to Wildlife Conservation

A wolf in the snow

To kick off the new year, we’re hosting a webcast on Wednesday, February 1st called Keep Salem Wild. For decades, conservationists despaired that Salem was ‘where wildlife went to die,’ a commentary on the Oregon legislature’s hostility to wildlife and other conservation issues. However, thanks to years of advocacy by people like you, that culture has been slowly changing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges!

So how will this legislative session turn out? Turn in for a preview. Guest speakers, including two wildlife and climate champion legislators, will provide an overview of what to expect this state legislative session, especially for priority bills to protect wildlife, wildlands and waters. We hope you can join us, as this will lay the foundation for future advocacy opportunities in 2023!

While we work to pass important wildlife legislation this year, we’re also preparing to stop bad bills which seek to undermine recovery and restoration of our most vulnerable species. Unfortunately, for Oregon’s wolves, this is all too familiar a threat. From expanded predator killing efforts to undermining coexistence and effective non lethal measures, livestock industry lobbyists and their allies in the legislature are always looking for opportunities to kill more wolves. Not only is that approach opposed by the majority of Oregonians who want to see wolves recover (and conflict dealt with non lethally), but this approach has severe consequences for a population just beginning to rebound. 

In fact, a new study out of the Ecological Society of America journal found that human-caused mortality actually does lead to more gray wolf pack instability. According to the publication, “Packs with no reported human-caused mortalities reproduced the following year 79.0% of the time, whereas packs with at least one reported human-caused mortality reproduced the following year only 65.6% of the time”. Additionally, packs who experienced one or more human-caused mortalities also saw a decrease in their ability to persist until the end of the biological year. This particular scientific research and data underscores what we’ve intuitively known all along: humans have the biggest impact on wolves’ ability to thrive.

Take poaching for example. The illegal killing of wolves in Oregon is having a profound effect on the species’ distribution and restoration across the state. That’s why it was particularly upsetting to learn of another wolf poaching in December. OR-103, an adult male who was traveling alone in Klamath County, was likely killed sometime in October. And because of restored federal endangered species protections for wolves in Western Oregon, it was also a federal crime. We will continue to sound every alarm and find every solution to solve Oregon’s abhorrent poaching problem. 

Despite everyone’s incredible efforts to advocate for passage of Recovering America’s Wildlife Act - legislation which would have allocated $1.4 billion a year for at-risk species’ conservation - disappointingly, it was not included in Congress’ final omnibus package at the end of the year. Though the bill had broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, ultimately there was disagreement between members of Congress about the best way to pay for these critical investments. While this setback is frustrating, there are already plans underway to reintroduce it early this year. And we’ll be there every step of the way to make sure it gets passed, because as you know, failure to act is not an option for our nation’s (and state’s) most imperiled wildlife and habitat.

Our commitment to safeguarding Oregon’s vulnerable fish and wildlife is strong. That’s why we’re also leading the charge to introduce a bill in the state legislature to secure long-term, dedicated funding for Oregon’s most at-risk species like the Oregon spotted frog, Pacific fisher, and Great Gray Owl. By doing so, we not only ensure all fish and wildlife are able to thrive, but combat one of the most pressing issues facing ecosystems and critters: the biodiversity crisis. Stay tuned as we share opportunities to engage on this legislation (and Recovering America’s Wildlife Act) moving forward.  





Are you an Oregonian who’s passionate about pollinators? Then check out this new license plate that’s sure to bee helpful. 

It’s great to see the unique Fender's blue butterfly downlisted from endangered to threatened. More species’ recovery in 2023? Yes, please!

Humans continue to have a major impact on imperiled marine life. Case in point: the sperm whale that washed up on Oregon’s coast earlier this month. ​​​ 

Don’t forget to reserve your spot for our webcast on Wednesday, February 1st at 6pm PST: Keep Salem Wild - The 2023 Oregon Legislative Session!  

​Speaking of the state legislative session, your advocacy is especially important to help support critical legislation that safeguards Oregon’s wildlife and of course, to stop bad bills in their tracks. Sign up for our Wild Ones program where you’ll learn about upcoming opportunities to use your voice for those without one.