State biologists suggest removing wolves from endangered list

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be told there is enough data to justify their removal from the list.

Share this article!


Oregon biologists are saying there is enough data to justify removing the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list.

The topic will be broached in the next Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting and a draft status review was posted Tuesday, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

“Wolves are actually doing very well. And so the place we are right now is actually a good thing. Wolves are going to be continued to be maintained in this state in a healthy way I’m sure,” [wolf program director Russ] Morgan said.

A final decision isn’t scheduled until August, but the commission could make the first step in the process when it meets April in Bend later this month. At last count, Oregon had 77 wolves descended from animals introduced in Idaho. The status report says they are projected to increase at a rate of seven percent a year, and the probability of a population failure is very low.

Altering the wolves’ status wouldn’t bring about great change, according to the Statesman Journal.

Wolves in western Oregon are still protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. And even with the delisting, wolves in Oregon would still be managed under the state’s Oregon Wolf Plan, which emphasizes non-lethal control to manage wolves and only allows lethal control in certain circumstances.

“Even with the delisting, we still have a comprehensive wolf plan and still would have protections in place,” [ODFW communications coordinator Michelle] Dennehy said.

Although many in rural Oregon fear the costs of attacks on livestock, they have been rare.

From the Associated Press:

Hoping to gain greater freedom to kill wolves attacking livestock, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has been pressing for the commission to delist wolves since a statewide census last winter showed they had exceeded their restoration goal of four breeding pairs producing pups that survive a year for three years running. At last count, there were at least seven breeding pairs, six in northeastern Oregon and one, led by the famous wanderer OR-7, in the southern Cascades.

Arguing that wolf numbers are still too low to justify lifting protections, conservation groups favor continuing endangered-species status to assure wolves continue to thrive. A bill — House Bill 3515 — to prohibit the commission from listing wolves as threatened or endangered has been introduced in the Legislature. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Removing the species from the endangered list would not allow the hunting of it.

RELATED NEWS: Are wolves good for business?
Wolf tourism in Eastern Oregon


Latest from Oregon Business Team