Wolves delisted under Oregon ESA – No changes in wolf management
Earlier this week, ODFW filed rules with the Oregon Secretary of State that removed wolves from the state Endangered Species List in keeping with the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s decision on Monday, Nov. 9.
The Commission’s decision changed the wolf’s ESA status but it has no other immediate effect on wolf management in Oregon. Wolves are still protected by the Wolf Plan and its associated rules.
Any take of wolves is highly regulated in Oregon and the delisting does not mean additional take is now allowed. Hunters and trappers may not take wolves in Oregon at this time. The Wolf Plan does not allow for general season sport hunting of wolves in any phase of wolf management.
The delisting also does not change the current management of wolf-livestock conflict. In all phases of the Wolf Plan, non-lethal preventive measures are the tools of choice to address wolf-livestock conflict.
Wolves in the East Zone will continue to be managed under Phase 2 rules, which do not change with the delisting. Wolves in the West Zone are managed under the ESA-like Phase 1 rules until their population also reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years. West of Hwys 395-78-95, the gray wolf remains listed on the federal ESA and any take of wolves in this area is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The decision to delist was a vote of confidence in the Wolf Plan and its continued implementation. “I think the Wolf Plan has been unbelievably successful in bringing together diverse interests,” said Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster during Monday’s meeting. “I believe we have wolves because of the Plan and the forbearance of eastern Oregonians in abiding by the plan. It is incumbent on everybody to continue sticking with the plan. We need to keep everybody at the table.”
“The big message that we got today is people want to protect wolves and that Oregonians love their wildlife,” said Commissioner Holly Akenson.
The Commission also asked ODFW to explore options to increase penalties for unlawfully taking a wolf. They will also ask the Oregon State Legislature to change the state’s ESA law to allow for listing and delisting of species in only a portion of the state in the future. “I think you can see by us asking for increased penalties and future regulations that [the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission] cares about wolves,” said Chair Mike Finley, while urging various interest groups to continue to work together.
For more information, please see ODFW’s Wolf FAQ.