Wolf Alpha Female, © Bill Keeting

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Wolf hunt ends in most of Idaho – Idaho’s wolf hunting and trapping season ended Saturday, March 31 across most of the state. Since the season began seven months ago, 372 wolves were legally killed—about half of the total number of estimated wolves tallied at the end of 2011. As Defenders wolf expert Suzanne Stone told Northwest Public Radio, that’s a lot of wolves, especially for the first year of state wolf management after federal protections were stripped for the species in May. Also, in some wolf hunting districts hunting will be allowed right through denning season to June 30, when wolf packs and pups are easily found and exceptionally vulnerable.

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The state wildlife commission has already ratcheted up their wolf control efforts for next year by approving higher bag limits and extending the season in several parts of the state. The state appears to be trying to drive the population down to a minimum number—an approach that resembles aggressive predator control more than it does responsible wildlife management. Idaho doesn’t treat black bears and cougars that way, even though those species are far more abundant, also prey on elk, and can have similar impacts on livestock.

It’s time for Idaho to start managing wolves like they do other valuable wildlife rather than pursuing the same strategies that nearly wiped wolves out 80 years ago and led to their listing.

Nonlethal tools are taking off in Oregon, allowing wolves and livestock to coexist. Defenders help pay for fladry at this eastern Oregon ranch.

Oregon invests in coexistence – While Idaho continues to dismantle wolf recovery efforts, Oregon is moving forward with a program that will help reduce conflict and benefit wolves over the long run. Oregon Department of Agriculture distributed nearly $83,000 this week to counties in eastern Oregon through the state’s newly minted wolf coexistence and livestock compensation program. Defenders helped the state create the program, which was adopted unanimously in legislation last summer. The best part is that $65,000 (almost 80 percent!) is earmarked for purchasing nonlethal deterrents like fladry, electric fencing and other scare devices. This bodes well for a future in which people and livestock can coexist in Oregon. Defenders has helped pioneer these methods in Oregon by working directly with ranchers who are living with wolves nearby, providing funding for range riders, purchasing miles of turbofladry, hosting training workshops for biologists, and more.  We are expanding our work in Washington and California to ensure that wolves have the best possible support across the West and deeply appreciate the continued support of our members who make our work possible.

OR7 back in Cali – The draw of the Golden State was simply too irresistible for OR-7, the lone male wolf that has been dividing his time between California and Oregon since the end of last year. According to California Department of Fish & Game, OR-7’s tracking collar was picked up on the southern side of the state line on March 31. He had left the state in early March, spending most of the month in southwest and south-central Oregon, but now he’s back in northern California. Keep tabs on his latest moves here. See full story in today’s Sacramento Bee.

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