Letter from 18 groups follows Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife shooting of two wolves earlier this month.
By Nigel Jaquiss
A group of 18 conservation organizations, led by Oregon Wild, wrote to Gov. Kate Brown today, urging her to get involved in a dispute over the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s wolf policy.
The conservation groups are unhappy about ODFW, which reports to Brown, having killed two wolves this month in what’s called the Harl Butte pack in Northeastern Oregon.
Those killings inflamed a long-running battle over the state’s policy toward the animals.
“Rather than a wolf problem, the Harl Butte situation raises disturbing questions about ODFW’s ability and willingness to require livestock operations to make meaningful efforts to avoid conflict,” the letter says.
Wolves once ranged widely in Oregon but were hunted to near extinction here 70 years ago, according to Oregon Wild. Then, about a decade ago, evidence of wolves having re-established themselves in the state became common in the Wallowa mountains. Their re-emergence brought with it conflict with ranchers and the need for a state policy on how to manage the conflict between wolves and commercial herds.
“Governor Brown, your leadership is needed to refocus ODFW on its conservation mission and to ensure Oregon has a wolf conservation plan that reduces conflict between wolves and livestock, makes killing nothing short of a last resort, and increases transparency and accountability by ODFW,” says the Aug. 17 letter.
“Concerning the Harl Butte pack, ODFW chose to kill four wolves at the request of a livestock manager for an out-of-state company. The action could drop the state’s known adult wolf population to 107 – less than in 2015.”
Brown’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.