17 October 2014
We’ll keep you updated here as this research progresses. But for now, big congrats to Suzanne Stone for winning the prestigious Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. We are so lucky to have you on the Defenders team!
Isolated Wolf Comes Too Close For Comfort: After the death last spring of one of only two members of the Ruby Creek Wolf Pack, the one surviving pack member has become a frequent visitor to the rural town of Ione, Washington – coming in closer and closer contact with domestic dogs and people. The wolf has begun to play with one of the local dogs in the area, and wildlife biologists think the wolf mistakenly thinks this is her pack’s alpha male. While she has yet to cause any harm, wildlife biologists and conservationists agree that having a habituated wolf so close to humans and their property could pose problems for both people and wolves. Even if this wolf was captured and relocated to another area, it’s likely that she would again seek out people. In this scenario, the best possible outcome is to place the wolf in a wildlife sanctuary.
Are Oregon Wolves Going to Be Delisted? Not so fast…. There’s been a flurry of news stories suggesting that wolves will be delisted by the state of Oregon in 2015. Why? One of the criteria under Oregon’s wolf management plan for “full recovery” is that the state must maintain four wolf breeding pairs for three consecutive years. For the past three years, Oregon has maintained four breeding pairs. And it’s likely that Oregon will meet this criteria again in 2015.
However, anti-wolf groups are operating under the misconception that if Oregon keeps four breeding pairs in the state through 2015, wolves will automatically be removed from the state endangered species list. There are already dozens of comments and blogs characterizing the removal of wolves from state protection as a good thing as it would make it easier to kill wolves in those areas of Oregon (about 1/3 of the state) where the animals are federally delisted. But these folks are forgetting a few things.
There are several criteria that need to be evaluated prior to determining if wolves can safely be removed from protection under the state Endangered Species Act in Oregon. The number of breeding pairs is just one of those criteria. And while Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is already under intense pressure from anti-wolf interests to push an actual delisting, we encourage OFDW to conduct a neutral and unbiased status review once any of the criteria have been met to assess the wolves’ overall population health in Oregon.