March Wildlife Update: Legislative Download + Rare Wolverine Sighting!


Wolverine in the Oregon Wild

A wolverine sighting near Portland?! Yes, indeed! ODFW confirmed that there was, in fact, a wolverine confirmed on the banks of the Columbia River just outside Portland. This wolverine is the first confirmed sighting outside of the Wallowa Mountains in NE Oregon in nearly 30 years! To say we're excited is an understatement. 

As winter turns to spring we anticipate the blooming of flowers, but also the fast approaching release of the annual wolf report! Since wolves began returning to Oregon in earnest, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has produced an annual report, providing a minimum wolf population count, overview of mortalities (legal and illegal), status of protections, and snapshot of predation incidents. Though Oregon Wild tracks wolf recovery closely, the detailed annual report always unveils critical information that ODFW had not chosen to disclose to the public earlier ( 2022’s report we learned that four wolves were killed by vehicle strikes). Sadly, the last few years have revealed a wolf population in trouble - with only slight increases in wolves from year to year. Given that, we’re particularly eager to see how wolves are faring since last year. 

So far in 2023, Oregon Wild and partners have noticed a disturbing increase in the frequency of ODFW issued kill orders in response to livestock predation. After peeling back some of the layers, it turns out the agency has been inconsistent and lacking transparency in determining when, why, and how they issue kill orders for certain situations. It’s troubling and a direct result of a weak wolf conservation and management plan - something we plan to remedy later this year when we begin the process to review and update the wolf plan.    

Things are really heating up in Salem as the legislative session pushes on. Last week was a major milestone deadline to determine if a bill would die or live to see another day, and I’m happy to report that several bills which support wildlife conservation made it over the hurdle! One such bill, HB 3159 -which would utilize an increase to the state tourism tax to pay for critical wildlife conservation programs- is a major priority for Oregon Wild this year. As we do everything we can to combat the biodiversity crisis, Oregon must ensure it’s prepared to recover our most vulnerable species (all 294 of them) such as the American pika, Oregon spotted frog, and Pacific marten. Passing HB 3159 would be a major step in the right direction.

(Oregon Wild staff and Rep. Salinas)

Oregon Wild heads to DC! After nearly three years since our last trip (for obvious reasons), Oregon Wild staff, including our Wildlife and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Associate, Ally Fisher, met with members of the Oregon delegation to talk about safeguarding fish, wildlife, and the critical habitat that supports them. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will soon be reintroduced in Congress, so it was perfect timing to ensure our Oregon lawmakers are not only ready to support it, but see it across the finish line  this year. We don’t have time to wait, because as you know, extinction is not an option. Stay tuned as we share opportunities in the coming months to advocate for the bill’s passage.    



Speaking of an imperiled species that could benefit from wildlife conservation funding- the Oregon spotted frog finally has a draft recovery plan to support its restoration. 

A rare disease is pushing a top marine predator to the brink of extinction. Read about efforts from a federal agency to list the sunflower sea star under the Endangered Species Act. 

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the successful and popular Endangered Species Act! This landmark legislation has prevented extinction in nearly 99% of species that have been added to the list like the bald eagle and humpback whale. To ensure it is effective for years to come, please sign this petition asking our federal lawmakers and decision-makers to Protect the Act!