Archive for the ‘Oregon’ Tag

Who killed wolf OR-28? Reward now stands at $20,000   10 comments

October 19,2016 by KVAL

Information needed in illegal killing of gray wolf (Photo courtesy OSP)

EUGENE, Ore. – The Humane Society added another $5,000 in reward money for information on who killed wolf OR-28.

The wolf was found dead October 6.

The announcement brings to $20,000 the reward in the case.

“The illegal killing of this young mother wolf is tragic, as every individual wolf is essential to the future of Oregon’s small and vulnerable population,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Wolves are one of the most misunderstood and persecuted species in North America, with special interest trophy hunting and trapping groups vying to strip them of protections. Wolves are a keystone species, and killing a breeding female can disrupt pack structure, which may lead to increased conflicts with livestock.”

An AKWA is an “area of known wolf activity.” “Within Areas of Known Wolf Activity certain preventative measures are recommended to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts,” the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says. “Assistance with these proactive non-lethal measures is available from ODFW and the ODA Compensation Plan. Though not required, non-lethal measures are important to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts. Should depredations continue and lethal control become necessary, ODFW’s ability to lethally remove depredating wolves will be dependent on the extent that non-lethal measures have been used.”

Wolves west of Highway 395 are on the Endangered Species Act. | More on wolves in Oregon

“We are grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon State Police for their dedication in pursuing those responsible for the death of this mother wolf, who had an important role to play in the future of Oregon’s iconic wolves,” Beckstead said.

The 3-year-old female gray wolf known as OR-28 was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon.

The wolf’s carcass was sent to USFWS’s National Forensics Laboratory for a necropsy.

OR-28 recently paired with 8-year-old male OR-3 and had her first litter of pups, Beckstead said.

“Poaching is an egregious crime against wildlife, and is particularly reprehensible when it involves an imperiled species struggling to make a comeback,”: Ben Callison, president of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. “By depriving this young mother wolf of her life, poachers have committed a crime against an individual animal, her pack, her species and the public. The reckless and callous crime of poaching—whether against wolves or any other species—cannot be tolerated. In addition, we must protect far more habitat, such as the Trust’s 3,621-acre Greenwood Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeview, Oregon, where wolves and other wildlife have a safe and permanent place to roam and raise their young.”


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Poll: Most Oregonians say killing no way to manage wolves   6 comments

October 9, 2016 by Eric Tegethoff, Oregon News Service

Majority say species still deserves protection

Poll: Most Oregonians say killing no way to manage wolves

PORTLAND, Ore. – A majority of Oregonians believe hunting wolves is no way to manage them and that the species still deserves endangered species protections, according to a new poll conducted by Mason Dixon Polling and Research.

More than 70 percent of Oregon voters who responded said nonlethal prevention methods should be attempted before officials are allowed to kill wolves.

Two-thirds said wolves don’t pose such an economic threat to the cattle industry that killing them is required.

Arron Robertson, communications coordinator for the conservation group Oregon Wild, said proposed changes to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s wolf conservation plan could make it easier to kill wolves.

“What are the conditions in which the agency essentially deputizes hunters to go out and do wildlife management?” he asked. “And what we found in this poll was that Oregonians disapproved of the kind of management tools that the agency was proposing.”

Respondents to the poll spanned the political spectrum, and 30 percent came from rural Oregon.

The poll was conducted at the end of September. As of the end of 2015, the commission said there were about 110 wolves in Oregon.

According to the poll, 63 percent disagree with the state’s removal of endangered species protections for Oregon’s wolves.

Robertson’s group, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, are challenging this decision in court, saying the science behind the decision is flawed.

“There were a number of scientists that commented that the science wasn’t rigorous enough and they had a number of concerns and those concerns were never addressed because there was no revision,” Robertson stressed. “So the decision, which was based on a report that was never peer-reviewed, was in violation of Oregon law.”

Last Friday, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission held a meeting open to the public in La Grande on proposed changes to the state’s wolf management plan, and will hold another meeting on Dec. 2 in Salem.


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$15,000 Reward Offered Over Illegal Killing of Oregon Mother Wolf   6 comments

For Immediate Release, October 14, 2016

Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, aweiss@biologicaldiversity.org

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity today added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting and killing an endangered wolf earlier this month in south-central Oregon. The wolf — a female known as OR-28, who recently had a pup — was found dead Oct. 6.

OR-28 courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also offering a $5,000 reward in the case.

“The illegal killing of wolf OR-28 is heartbreaking. She was a pioneering animal, one of the first wolves to make the journey from northeastern to western Oregon,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf organizer. “OR-28 was also a first-time mother, who leaves behind her mate and single pup to fend for themselves. This was a cowardly crime. I hope the perpetrator is caught quickly.”

Because she lived in the western two-thirds of Oregon, OR-28 was protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Poaching a protected species is punishable by a heavy fine and jail time. In 2015 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported six wolf deaths due to illegal shootings, ingesting poison, or from suspicious but unknown causes. This is the highest number of illegal and suspicious wolf mortalities recorded in Oregon in a single year. Only one of the 2015 wolf deaths resulted in a conviction.

Anyone with information about this case can call the Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or the Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888. Callers may remain anonymous.

News of OR-28’s death comes on the heels of a statewide poll that found that the vast majority of Oregonians — from both rural and urban areas — oppose hunting as a way to manage wolves and believe wildlife officials wrongly removed state protections from wolves last November. The poll also revealed that most Oregonians believe nonlethal methods should be the primary focus in reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock.

“Oregonians love wolves and want them protected. The poaching of OR-28 is a disgusting crime that shouldn’t go unpunished,” Weiss said. “Someone out there almost certainly knows who did this, and I really hope they’ll step forward and help secure justice for this wolf.”


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Poaching ‘considered’ as factor Wallowa County wolves’ ‘unnatural’ deaths   1 comment

Source September 16, 2015

Oregon's gray wolves

Two gray wolves were found dead of ‘unnatural’ causes in Wallowa County, where wolves are highly controversial. (The Associated Press)

Oregon State Police are investigating to find out who killed two wolves in Wallowa County last month.

The agency on Wednesday announced two adult wolves, one of them wearing a state tracking collar, were found dead on August 24. 

Wolves are an endangered species in Oregon, and killing them is illegal except under special circumstances outlined in the Oregon Wolf Plan.

The state police announcement listed the cause of death as unknown, but state police spokesman Bill Fugate told The Oregonian/Oregonlive the wolves’ manner of death “does not appear to be natural.”

Asked whether the wolves were poached, Fugate said, “It’s definitely being considered.”

In Wallowa County, where wolves are protected under the state endangered species act but not the federal act, poaching a wolf can bring a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,250.

The wolves, a mating male and female known as the Sled Springs pair, had been raising pups born this spring. Wolf biologist Roblyn Brown of the state fish and wildlife department said it is unknown whether the pups are still alive.

Fugate declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the wolves’ death, but noted their bodies were found on public land north of Enterprise. It’s likely there were witnesses to the crime, he said.

“The evidence points toward humans being in the area at the time of the wolves’ death,” he said.

State officials discovered the wolves’ bodies after the female’s tracking collar emitted a signal indicating she was dead. State police and wildlife officials followed the signal to find two bodies lying 50 yards apart.

Police are asking anyone with information about the wolves’ deaths to contact Senior Trooper Kreg Coggins at 541-426-3049, or to call the poaching tipster hotline at 1-800-452-788. Tipsters can also email TIP@state.or.us.

The deaths underscore mounting tensions as the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission considers removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list. The losses bring Oregon’s wolf population down to 79 known individuals, a number that has steadily increased since the first lone wanderer crossed the Idaho border into Oregon in 1999.

Conservationists called for legal action if poachers are deemed responsible.

Amaroq Weiss, a wolf organizer the Center for Biological Diversity, said she was saddened by the “highly suspicious” deaths.

“We hope that if this is indeed the act of a misguided individual or individuals, they are quickly caught and brought to justice,” Weiss said.

The Sled Springs pair was one of six established pairs or packs in Wallowa County, a rural ranching community where wolves remain controversial. Bumper stickers bearing the slogan “shoot, shovel and shut up” along with an illustration of a wolf in a hunting scope’s crosshairs are commonplace.

Many ranchers see the predators as a threat to their livestock, and have pushed the state to remove endangered species protections that outlaw killing wolves except in special circumstances. Ranchers argue they need more freedom to take lethal action to prevent wolves from killing their livestock.

Last week, the state wildlife agency announced the Mount Emily pack near La Grandrecently killed two sheep. The sheep kills are the pack’s fifth attack on livestock or domestic animals this year, and could result in lethal action from the state.

Since wolves established themselves in Oregon, state officials have killed four in response to chronic attacks on livestock. Several wolves have been killed by poachers, but police have made no arrests.

In Washington, where wolves are also endangered, a man this week was fined $100 for chasing a wolf with his car, then shooting and killing the animal. Wildlife advocates argued the sentence was too lenient.

The Oregon wildlife commission is expected to consider next month whether wolves should remain listed as endangered in Oregon.

The Oregon Wolf Plan still would govern who can kill wolves, and under what circumstances.

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Tucson Premiere of Wolf Film “OR7: The Journey” Set for Dec. 3   3 comments

From:  Newsletter by Center for Biological Diversity

Contact: Julie Ragland, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252
Karen Olch, event organizer, (541) 344-1230

Documentary About Famous Wandering Wolf to Be Screened at Loft Cinema

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity on Dec. 3 is hosting the Tucson premiere of the documentary “OR7: The Journey,” an inspiring film about the famous wolf who wandered hundreds of miles from northeast Oregon to become the first documented wolf in California in more than 80 years.

OR-7 Film PosterThe screening will be held at The Loft Cinema at 3233 E. Speedway in Tucson at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.50 and are available through The Loft Cinema’s website. There is limited seating, and the show is expected to sell out.

Wolves were once common along the West Coast but were driven out in the late 1800s and early 1900s after decades of extermination programs. Wolves began returning to Washington and Oregon after wolves were reintroduced to central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s.

Today Oregon is once again home to a fragile, recovering population of gray wolves. All of its wolves were confined to the northeast corner of the state until one male left his pack in 2011 and made history by becoming the first documented wolf west of the Cascades since 1947, and the first in California in nearly a century. In the process he inspired people around the world and has become an ambassador for recovering native wildlife. The wolf was dubbed OR-7 by biologists and was given the name “Journey” by schoolchildren in a naming contest.

“OR7: The Journey” tells the story not just of this individual wolf, but also of his species and its struggle to find acceptance, overcome old hostilities, and settle new homes in the West. The tale is particularly timely in Arizona with last month’s news of a gray wolf spotted on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Come celebrate wolf recovery, wildlife and OR-7’s epic journey. A Q&A will follow the movie with wolf advocates to discuss OR-7 and the future of wolves in the West.

What: Documentary film “OR7: The Journey” followed by a Q&A with wolf advocates from the Center for Biological Diversity
Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Tucson, (520) 795-0844
When: Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10.50 at The Loft Cinema box office or online athttps://loftcinema.com/film/or7-the-journey/
More info: Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252
More film info: http://www.or7themovie.com

 

Ranchers Insistence On Cheap Grazing Keeps Wolf Population In The Crosshairs   Leave a comment

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11/05/2013 @ 2:36PM |3,590 views

Ranchers Insistence On Cheap Grazing Keeps Wolf Population In The Crosshairs

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One of the six Canadian timber wolves (Canis l...  credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

If the October headlines were any indication, the quickest way for a wolf to make the news is to get shot. The Jackson Hole News and Guide reported the story of a Wyoming hunter who bagged a wolf, strapped him atop his SUV, and paraded his trophy through Town Square. A Montana landowner shot what he thought was a wolf (it turned out to be a dog hybrid) amid concerns that the beast was harassing house cats. The Ecologist speculated that hunters were chasing wolves from Oregon, where hunting them is illegal, into Idaho, where it’s not, before delivering fatal doses of “lead poisoning.”

Predictably, these cases raise the hackles of animal right advocates and conservationists alike. Both groups typically view hunting wolves as a fundamental threat to a wolf population that, after a history of near extermination, is struggling to survive reintegration into the Northern Rockies. According to Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, “Hunting is now taking a significant toll on wolf populations.”

Understanding what would address these larger issues requires momentarily looking backward.  Historically speaking, wolves got the shaft. When Lewis and Clark explored the American west at the dawn of the nineteenth century, thousands of wolves thrived across the Northern Rockies. Lewis admiringly called them “the shepherds of the buffalo.”

But the systemic destruction and commodification of their natural prey–including the  buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep–as well as the subsequent replacement of wild animals with domesticated livestock, effectively transformed wolves–who wasted no time attacking helpless livestock–from innocent wildlife into guilty predators. Federally sponsored extermination programs–which included the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey (later the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) hiring hunters to kill wolves en masse–succeeded so well that wolf numbers dropped to virtually nil by 1930. In such ways was the West won. (A similar battle continues, to an extent, in the attempt to remove wild horses today).

Six decades later, buffeted by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the emergence of a modern environmental movement, conservationists were working diligently to restore wolves to their former climes. But the livestock industry had, throughout the century, radically altered the old terrain, not to mention the rules governing it. Twentieth-century grazing practices denatured the wolf’s traditional habitat, reducing the landscape to ruins while securing ranchers’ presumed right to continue exploiting the wild west for tame animals. Michael Robinson, noting that the process of land degradation began in the nineteenth century, puts it this way:  ”the west was picked clean of anything of value.”

Cattle had indeed wrecked havoc. They destroyed watersheds, trampled riparian vegetation, and turned grasslands to hardpan, triggering severe erosion. To top it off, the livestock industry spent the twentieth century securing cheap access to public lands through thousands of grazing permits now granted by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Today, ranchers enjoy tax-supported access to 270 million acres of public land. Seventy-three percent of publicly-owned land in the west is currently grazed by privately owned livestock. Some of that grazing might be done responsibly. Most of it, according to the BLM itself, is definitely not.

No matter what the quality of prevailing grazing practices, one thing remains the same as it did a century ago: ranchers have a clear incentive to kill wolves. As environmental groups worked to form a united front in support of wolf reintegration in the mid-1990s, anti-wolf advocates articulated their opinions with vicious clarity. Hank Fischer, author of Wolf Wars and an advocate of wolf reintroduction, recalled the arguments he confronted as he pushed the pro-wolf agenda in Montana. “The Wolf is the Saddam Hussein of the Animal World,” read the placard of one protester. “How Would You Like to Have Your Ass Eaten by a Wolf?,” asked another.

Politically sanctioned release of pent-up vituperation against wolves came in 2012. It was then when gray wolves were completely removed from endangered species lists. Hunting season commenced with a bang in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Recreational hunters and ranchers–not to mention the federal Wildlife Services–have since shot hundreds of wolves that ostensibly posed a threat to livestock. At times, such as last week, hunts have evinced grotesque, vigilante-like displays. According to James William Gibson, writing in The Earth Island Journal, “The Northern Rockies have become an unsupervised playpen for reactionaries to act out warrior fantasies against demonic wolves, coastal elites, and idiotic environmentalists.”

Fortunately, as the debate over wolf hunting rages, cooler heads are trying to prevail. Camilla Fox , Executive Director of Project Coyote, an organization dedicated to the peaceful coexistence of humans and animals, advocates policies that promote, in her words, “predator conservation and stewardship.”

Working closely with ranchers, she encourages them to have “tolerance and acceptance of wolves on the landscape.” She highlights several non-lethal methods of management, including using guard animals (such as Great Pyrenees and llamas) to deter wolves and coyotes from attacking livestock, better fencing, range-riders, fladry (flags that whip and flap in the wind), and grazing allotment buyouts, a solution that allows private parties to pay ranchers to relinquish their grazing permits. Project Coyote’s work has already had a dramatically successful impact on resolving conflicts between sheep owners and coyotes in Marin County, California.

Whatever techniques are eventually used to keep wolves off the headlines and in the wilderness, critics of wolf hunting should not lose sight of the fact that, while hunters are an easy (and perhaps legitimate) target for their ire, a lead poisoned wolf in 2013 is ultimately the victim of a century of disastrous decisions regarding land use–specifically, the use of livestock on the landscape. Eliminating grazing permits for western cattle ranchers would negatively impact no more than 10 percent of the beef industry in the United States. Ten percent! Seems a modest tonnage of flesh to sacrifice in order to save a species that symbolizes the beautiful essence of a landscape we have lost.

As Camilla Fox notes, “they do a lot better when we leave them alone.

For more on the politics of animal agriculture and related topics, follow me on Twitter or visit my personal blog.

James McWilliams

James McWilliams, Contributor

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