By Andrew Theen
For the third time this month, wildlife officials said they would kill wolves in Northeast Oregon in response to attacks on livestock.
A rancher in Umatilla County had asked the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to eradicate the Meacham Pack, but state officials said Thursday they would allow no more than two animals to be killed. The pack had seven members as of December 2016.
For the first time, Oregon is considering allowing ranchers to kill the wolves under a “limited duration wolf kill permit,” rather than rely on state officials.
In a statement, agency Director Curt Melcher said there’s been an increase in the number of cattle and other livestock killed, “which is not surprising due to the increasing population [of wolves]”
“While it’s disheartening for some people to see ODFW killing wolves,” Melcher said, “our agency is called to manage wildlife in a manner consistent with other land uses, and to protect the social and economic interests of all Oregonians while it conserves gray wolves.”
“It’s important that we address and limit wolf-livestock problems while also ensuring a healthy wolf population,” he continued.
Advocates slammed the decision Thursday as the latest disappointment from the agency.