Oregon Issues Kill Orders for Multiple Wolves
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has authorized kill orders for at least two wolves in the Horseshoe Pack in response to two attacks on livestock. The order allows the livestock producer to kill two wolves but also allows for ODFW officials to kill an additional two wolves, meaning up to four wolves could be killed over the coming weeks.
Based on the 2021 minimum count, the Horseshoe Pack consists of 3 adults and 5 yearlings (born last year); officials don’t know if any pups were born this year.
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.
Oregon was home to 175 wolves at the end of 2021, an increase of two wolves from 2020. 26 wolves were found dead in 2021; 21 of these deaths were human-caused (poaching, vehicle collisions, and ODFW killing on behalf of livestock owners).