Oregon’s Wolves’ August Atrocities Underline a Year of Sorrow
As summer blankets Oregon, the serenity of its wild landscapes is juxtaposed sharply against a somber and alarming narrative – a continuation from our previous discussions this year showing the continual sanctioned killing of wolves and the harmful effects it’s having on repopulation efforts. The latest sorrowful chapter revolves around the confirmed killing of four wolves and the looming death sentence for another four, all in the matter of weeks this August.
Cycle of Despair
The tragedies of the last couple of years in Oregon have unfurled into a mournful August. Our previous analysis of the ODFW’s repeated endorsement of lethal measures against wolves, citing “prevention of depredations,” casts a long shadow over recent developments. Humans are still the leading cause of death of wolves in Oregon, with 21 of the 26 known wolf deaths in 2021 coming at the hands of humans through legal and illegal means. The slaying of four wolves from the Catherine Creek area early this year now seems to be a bitter prelude to the continued aggression against these essential keystone species.
This August’s incidents concerning the Wildcat Pack and the Five Points Pack, with a total of four wolves already killed and another four set to face a similarly grim fate, mirrors the woeful missteps chronicled every time we get an ODFW alert. It’s a resonating echo, one that recalls ODFW’s puzzling history of both celebrating and persecuting wolves, and the lack of alignment between celebrations of wolf populations and the violent counter-actions authorized against them.
The Narrative Continues
How does an agency move from seeking justice for the poisoned wolves in Catherine Creek to authorizing the killing of their successors in the same area? The Five Point Pack’s plight only adds to this narrative, weaving in with stories we shared earlier, such as the stagnation in Oregon’s wolf population growth and the persistence of poaching.
In our April discourse, we highlighted the mere three-wolf increase in the Oregon wolf population in 2022, pointing to various systemic issues. The 2022 annual wolf report unveiled alarming numbers: out of 20 known wolf deaths, 17 were human-caused. And here we are, just a few months later, witnessing the sanctioned killing of another set of wolves.
The Deepening Disconnect
Time and again, we’ve emphasized the necessity of non-lethal approaches and the myriad problems associated with lethal removals. Rob Wieglus’s research notably has outlined how lethal methods paradoxically enhance the chances of livestock depredation. Furthermore, the issues with the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s compensation program’s potential fraud, which we touched upon last November, further underscore the depth of the problem.
Our concerns are only intensified by this August’s atrocities. It seems the ODFW’s approach remains fragmented, oscillating between the lauding of wolf populations and the authorization of their killing. This polarity is not only disconcerting but indicative of a deeper systemic flaw in the conservation approach.
Wolves are more than just numbers or potential threats to livestock. They’re the beating heart of Oregon’s wilderness, essential players in the PNW ecosystem. The cascading effects they have on our environment, from regulating prey populations to indirectly aiding other flora and fauna, cannot be overstated.
The stories from last year’s wolf report, now continued with this bloody August, weave a narrative of a state at crossroads. Oregon has the potential to be a beacon of harmonious coexistence, where wolves can reclaim their rightful place in the wilderness, but the path forward requires introspection, change, and action.
It’s crucial for Oregon, its citizens, and organizations like ours, to come together, advocating for an updated, scientific, and compassionate approach towards these magnificent creatures. We’ve seen the tragedies; now, let’s pen a hopeful chapter for Oregon’s wolves.
Join our unyielding fight for these creatures. Share this with anyone you know who wants a better tomorrow for wolves. Every voice, every action, pushes the narrative towards hope and away from sorrow.