The amazing disappearing, reappearing wolves of Oregon
Wolf numbers in Oregon have fluctuated quite a bit this year, but according to a new map, state wildlife managers now believe at least five distinct groups of wolves comprising four different packs exist today. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced this week that a new pack has been identified along the border with Idaho in the northeast corner of the state. That brings the total number of known wolves in Oregon to at least 23: four in the Imnaha pack, six in the Walla Walla pack, five in the Snake River pack, four in the Wenaha pack, two wolves in northern Umatilla county, and two have dispersed from the Imnaha pack to central Oregon.
The official count, however, won’t be determined until the end of the year when ODFW does their survey for the 2011 Northern Rockies annual report. Only packs with at least two adults (one male, one female) and two or more pups are considered “breeding pairs.” The state’s initial goal as outlined in the Oregon wolf management plan is to have four breeding pairs on either side of the Cascade Mountains. If Oregon’s wolves continue to move about the way they have this year, the state may reach their goal sooner rather than later.
Depredations remain low across region
So far, so good for most ranchers in the Northern Rockies this year. Most states saw a continued decline in the number of confirmed livestock losses with Montana, Idaho and Wyoming reporting 74, 57 and 38 cattle depredations and 12, 65 and 30 sheep depredations, respectively, for the year. (See the latest Wyoming status report for more detailed information on livestock losses in the past decade.) With millions of cattle and hundreds of thousands of sheep out on the range, wolf related livestock losses remain well below one percent of overall livestock losses. Yet Defenders will continue to work with willing partners in the livestock community to further reduce those losses.
Unfortunately, the number of wolves being killed by hunters picked up dramatically this week as general rifle season opened in Montana. The combined total for both Idaho and Montana passed the 100 mark this week, with 83 killed in Idaho and 27 killed in Montana.
Sheepherding: an ancient pastime finds new relevance
It’s one of the oldest jobs in human history. Tending a flock of sheep dates back at least to biblical times and probably long before that. But unlike basket-weaving or the caber toss, it’s an age-old tradition that’s perhaps even more relevant today.
Recently, Jessica Robinson with the Northwest News Network tagged along with a few Peruvian sheep herders in the mountains above McCall, Idaho, where their job entails not only herding the sheep, but keeping an eye out for wolves. Having a constant human presence is one of the best deterrents to wolves, and as Defenders has demonstrated with the Wood River Wolf Project, paying for full-time herders can be well worth the investment if it prevents sheep from getting eaten by wolves.
Final Washington wolf plan meeting coming up
If you live in eastern Washington, don’t forget to RSVP for the upcoming meeting on the state’s wolf plan. This is your last chance to make sure that Washington’s wolves will be guaranteed a bright future. Some area ranchers have been pushing to roll-back many of necessary protections for wolves, so we need you to speak out in favor of sound wildlife management that supports the long-term recovery of the species. Details below…
|What:||Public Meeting on Washington’s Wolf Management Plan|
|When:||Thursday, November 3rd 1:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.|
8909 West Airport Drive
Spokane, WA 99224