The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution requesting the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission delist wolves from the state endangered species list.
The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday urging the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to remove wolves from the state endangered species list.
Oregon’s wolf population has grown steadily since 2009, with most of the predators concentrated in the state’s far northeast corner. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife counted a minimum of 77 wolves in nine packs at the end of 2014.
Local ranchers want to see wolves delisted in order to have more flexibility to kill those animals that make a habit of preying on their livestock. Conservationists, however, say the population remains fragile and in need of protection.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in April to start the process that could lead to delisting wolves east of highways 395, 78 and 95. That decision came after ODFW found at least four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in the region. Wolves remain federally endangered in western Oregon.
County commissioners are now prodding the Fish and Wildlife Commission to delist wolves for the benefit of livestock producers. A decision could come as early as the commission’s Aug. 7 meeting in Salem.
“We’re getting depredations, and we’re getting issues with wolves,” said commissioner Larry Givens.
ODFW encourages producers to use non-lethal tools for hazing wolves away from livestock in areas where the predators are known to have territory. Deterrents include fladry fencing, range riders and reducing attractants such as bone piles.