Defenders helps Umatilla tribe in Oregon – Our wolf expert Suzanne Stone traveled to Pendleton, Oregon last weekend to help the Umatilla tribe with nonlethal techniques for proactively reducing conflict between livestock and wolves. Just this summer, the tribe documented the first wolf pack on their land in almost a century, and they’re enthusiastic to see the species return to the wilds of northeastern Oregon. The pack is currently the most southwesternly of any in the Pacific Northwest, in a location that resembles parts of Yellowstone National Park (see for yourself in the photo to the right). Defenders has donated five trail cameras to help tribal biologists document wolf activity in the area—vital information they can pass on to ranchers to help keep wolves and livestock out of harm’s way. We’re thrilled to be working with the Umatilla people to ensure that native wildlife and domestic animals can coexist on the landscape.
Protect Oregon wolves from Wildlife Services – Oregonians will finally have a chance to weigh in on the use of lethal control by USDA’s Wildlife Services, the federal agency responsible for removing unwanted wildlife for the benefit of the livestock industry. In Oregon, Wildlife Services is routinely called in to investigate possible livestock depredations. However, unlike in many other states, they do not currently have authority to remove wolves suspected of killing livestock. That responsibility has been taken on directly by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife…until now.
The environmental assessment that’s out for review would allow Wildlife Services to start killing wolves in Oregon. Given their poor track record in Wallowa County misidentifying the cause of depredations and refusal to recommend nonlethal deterrents or better animal husbandry practices, Wildlife Services should not be trusted to carry out lethal actions responsibly. Defenders would much rather see ODFW retain authority over all control actions.
We’ll send more information out in a couple weeks on how you can help wolves and submit comments on the document. In case you need more motivation, this video of a howling wolf pup in Oregon’s Snake River pack will remind you of what’s at stake:
Wood River news coverage – The Wood River Wolf Project has expanded this year…to local television! In this news segment, Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen describes how the project meets the needs of all his constituents—farmers, ranchers and wildlife supporters.