Wildlife conservation groups and activists plan to gather at 1 pm today in front of Mahonia Hall, Gov. Kate Brown's Salem residence, to protest a new law that ratifies the removal of gray wolves from the state's list of endangered species.
The protesters will demand Brown and other elected officials make the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife set a higher bar for protecting wolves, says Courtney Rae, community organizer of local wildlife advocacy group Bark.
House Bill 4040, which passed Feb. 12, ratifies the ODFW's decision to "delist" wolves, which occurred last November.
The state agency says it delisted the wolves because the state's current population—nine packs and seven breeding pairs—is well above the threshold that triggers taking them off the endangered species list.
State conservation groups argued that the delisting occurred prematurely, so they challenged the state's decision with a lawsuit—but that lawsuit has been blocked by the passing of HB 4040.
"We're holding a rally to let the governor know that Oregon residents not only take this seriously and personally, but we also have the scientific evidence to back up our insistence in the protection of this wildlife," Rae says.
The deslisting of gray wolves is likely to have grave consequences. As WW wrote in a 2014 cover story:
Wolves will certainly end up dead if they’re delisted. Two years ago, after a controversial decision by the Obama administration—at the request of Montana’s Democratic senator, who was in a tough re-election fight—the gray wolf was federally delisted as an endangered species. Since then, approximately 1,700 wolves have been killed in states like Idaho. Biologists estimate there are only between 1,600 and 1,900 wolves left.
Rae estimates there will be at least 50 people at the rally, which is scheduled from 1 to 3 pm.


Group protests outside governor's mansion over wolf bill signing

Members of Bark, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems and Predator Defense protest outside the governor's mansion Thursday, March 17, 2016. (Photo courtesy of the groups in attendance)