Authorization to Kill Oregon Wolves Extended; Punitive Killings Threaten Wolf Recovery

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Authorization to Kill Oregon Wolves Extended; Punitive Killings Threaten Wolf Recovery

PORTLAND, OR - The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday extended by
another week authorization for the federal agency known as Wildlife
Services to kill two uncollared wolves
in eastern Oregon. The extension will likely mean the shooting of two
wolves of the Imnaha Pack, the only known breeding wolf pack in the
state, despite the fact that the wolves’ last livestock kills occurred
on June 4, two weeks ago, and that it is not known which of the 11
animals in the pack may have previously preyed on stock.

“Killing
two wolves that may or may not have been involved in livestock
depredations more than two weeks ago is a purely punitive act,” said
Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for
Biological Diversity. “With so few wolves, Oregon cannot afford to kill
these two individuals.”

The continued hunting of
members of the Imnaha Pack proceeds even as oral arguments concluded on
Tuesday in the conservationist lawsuit to restore the wolves’
protections under the Endangered Species Act. If a federal court in
Missoula agrees with the arguments of the Center for Biological
Diversity and allies, the wolves in Montana and Idaho, along with those
in the eastern third of Oregon and Washington, will be returned to the
endangered species list, potentially stopping the kind of killings
authorized by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Authorization
of the killing of two of the few wolves in Oregon demonstrates that
wolves continue to need protection under the Endangered Species Act,”
said Greenwald.

In the absence of Endangered
Species Act protections, wolves in Oregon are managed under the “Oregon
Wolf Management Plan,” which is currently under review by the state
agency to determine if it needs changes. The plan calls for deterring
wolf predation on livestock through non-injurious means (such as the
cleaning up carcasses of non-wolf-killed livestock that may attract
wolves, which is widely supported) but also gives Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife great discretion to issue kill permits if these
measures are considered ineffective. Conservation groups, including the
Center, sent a letter
to the agency this week asking it to withdraw authorization for killing
the two wolves because not enough had been done by area ranchers to
avoid depredations.

“The Oregon Wolf Management
Plan needs to be strengthened to ensure that members of Oregon’s
fragile wolf population will not be killed until all measures have been
taken to avoid depredations,” said Greenwald.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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