MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation lauds the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for using scientific practices and procedures to remove wolves from state Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.
“This is the right move. Oregon wolves are recovered,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “ODFW is successfully following its wolf management plan which provides protection both from and for wolves down the road.”
In essence, the status change means very little regarding current Oregon wolf management but it does open the door to the possibility of a wolf hunt in the future.
Biologists maintain there is a minimum population of 81 wolves in Oregon with the majority located in the northeast corner of the state.
According to the ODFW Wolf Plan, any take of wolves is tightly regulated with non-lethal preventive measures regarding wolf-livestock conflict being the first choice of action by wildlife managers. There is no general hunting season of wolves allowed in any phase of the current plan which is due to be updated in the near future. Wolves in the western two-thirds of Oregon will continue to be managed with ESA-like protections until they reach the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years. Ranchers in northeast Oregon can shoot a wolf caught in the act of wounding, biting, killing or chasing livestock.
“The wolf plan has been working well and you are all responsible for that,” said Michael Finley, ODFW Commission chair, at the conclusion of a recent public hearing. “We will remember the merits of the wolf plan and the next one will be as good or better. You can all help that happen.”
In light of the delisting, several environmental organizations are already threatening legal action.
“There are groups that do very little on-the-ground wildlife conservation work. They view the wolf as a fundraising tool and file lawsuit after lawsuit to gum up the process of proper, balanced wildlife management. The hysteria over this delisting is based on nothing more than ideology and fundraising. They need to allow state wildlife managers to do their job in looking out for what’s best for all species of wildlife,” added Allen.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 205,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.7 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.