January Wildlife Update: Things Are Heating Up

six western painted turtles on a log floating in the water

The Oregon legislative session is just around the corner. Check out this month’s wolf pack newsletter to learn about legislation elected officials will be considering that protect (or not) Oregon’s wildlife – and how you can help!



You’ve heard us mention how pervasive the problem with poaching is, especially for wolves. Unfortunately, to kick off this new year, Oregon has had yet another wolf poaching incident: OR - 106 was found dead by gunshot wound on Saturday, January 8th in Wallowa County. She was a two year old collared wolf and the only disperser from the Chesnimnus Pack. This high rate of wolf poaching in Oregon, coupled with ODFW killing wolves in response to livestock predation, continues to put our fragile wolf population in jeopardy. It’s critical for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue an emergency relisting status for the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population (which includes Eastern Oregon, Montana and Idaho) now! 

Recently, Congressman Peter DeFazio issued a fiery statement expressing disappointment with the federal agency for not recognizing the need to relist wolves immediately. In a press statement, DeFazio said, ``I have “grave concerns” about the wolf and declared “there is simply no reason for Secretary Haaland to continue a Trump-era policy that threatens the existence of a species.”


It is go time!

The Oregon legislative session begins next week and because it’s an even numbered year, that means the session only lasts 35 days (during odd numbered years, the legislative session is 6 months). As far as bills we support, on deck this session is a bill to fund wildlife crossings in Oregon, which is essential for protecting wildlife and increasing public safety. 

Then there are two not-so-great bills related to carnivores: one to increase funding for the wolf compensation fund and another to establish predator damage control districts. 

The wolf compensation fund bill is troubling because the reason the legislators are asking for this steep increase to $1 million is to pay for missing livestock claims (which just assumes wolves are the problem). The compensation fund’s problems are well documented and this bill does nothing to address the waste, fraud, and abuse rampant in the program. We strongly oppose this bill. 

The other “predator” bill is to create these predator damage control districts so that local entities can raise money to kill myriad wildlife species. While they claim some money would be used for non-lethal measures, we know the majority would be spent on direct killing of Oregon’s wildlife. We also oppose this bill. Stay tuned as we share opportunities in the coming weeks to weigh in with Oregon legislators.

In other legislative news, Congress is considering a bill that would invest $1.3 billion into state fish and wildlife agencies across the country to implement wildlife conservation and habitat improvement programs. Known as RAWA - Recovering America’s Wildlife Act - this legislation could mean an allocation of nearly $25 million annually for Oregon’s wildlife conservation programs! Not only would this help protect and recover vulnerable species like the Western painted turtle and Oregon spotted frog, but it would also help ensure the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) fulfills its full mission to protect and enhance all fish and wildlife – not just those state wildlife agencies can sell hunting tags for. 

See more about supporting this legislation in the Take Action section below.


What is a wilderness without wolves? Answer: scenery.
Well, this is neat! Take a look at this website to learn about the individual whales (and their unique characteristics) found along the Oregon coast.
After years of decline, the western monarch butterfly is finally reporting an increase. Phew. In fact, the latest count cataloged a nearly 100-fold increase! 


Please join us for our next Oregon Wild Webcast on Wednesday, February 2nd about the restoration of sea otters to the Oregon coast. In this webinar, friends from the Elakha Alliance will discuss the Sea Otter Feasibility Study - the most important document to determine whether a reintroduction effort is possible - and what you can do to help. You won’t want to miss this event, so sign up today! 


To help us advocate for long-term, wildlife conservation funding, please reach out to your US Senator, asking for their support of RAWA.