Oregon Wildlife Officials Give Landowner Permission to Kill Two Wolves to Protect Cows
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced on Friday that they will issue a kill permit to a livestock producer; the permit will allow the producer to kill up to two wolves in the Ukiah and Heppner units of eastern Oregon. The kill permit expires October 31, 2021, when the two wolves are killed, or when the producer moves their livestock from the area – whichever comes first.
The permit was issued in response to two livestock attacks that occurred at the end of September but ODFW officials don’t have any record of a wolf family maintaining a territory in the designated area where the attacks occurred. The locations are approximately two miles from the estimated boundary of the Fivemile Pack and public sighting reports have indicated there could be multiple wolves within ten miles southeast of the attacks.
Not only are ODFW officials ignoring peer-reviewed science in issuing kill permits, but they don’t even know which wolves the producer is targeting. Does this sound like wildlife conservation and “management”?
Killing Wolves Does Not Reduce Conflict
Science shows that killing a wolf can increase the risk that wolves will prey on livestock in the future. It is counterproductive and unsustainable. Additional research also suggests that killing of wolves can increase the risk to nearby farms, providing further evidence for the ineffectiveness of the so-called “lethal control” policy approach.
Wildlife managers across the West trap and kill wolves, cougars and coyotes and other predators, and lethal control has become more common for wolves in Oregon and Washington as their populations have grown. But many scientists contend there’s little good evidence for the effectiveness of those efforts.
Under Oregon’s Wolf Plan rules, livestock producers must be using and document non-lethal methods to deter wolves before lethal control can be considered. Also, there can be no identified circumstances on the property (such as bone piles or carcasses) that could be attracting wolves.
Wolves throughout Oregon were delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) on November 9, 2015. Wolves in the western portion of the state (west of Hwys 395-78-95) lost federal protections in January 2021. Wolves are now state-managed by ODFW.
There are an estimated 173 wolves living in Oregon. Most recently, ODFW killed five wolves (pups and breeding male) of the Lookout Mountain pack in an attempt to halt livestock attacks. Livestock attacks have continued in that region, as scientists expected.