by Kelly House | The Oregonian/OregonLive November 9, 2015
depredation: No lethal action planned for calf attacks. Wolf
OR-25 believed to be perpetrator
A male yearling from the Imnaha Pack was one of eight
Oregon gray wolves collared in 2013 by the Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife. The agency uses signals from wolves' collars
to track their dispersal throughout the state. (Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife photo)
The gray wolf has lost its place on the Oregon endangered
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Monday voted to
remove the animal from the list in a move that changes little
about current wolf management but opens up the possibility for a
controlled wolf hunt in the future.
In a 4-2 vote following a marathon daylong meeting,
commissioners signaled agreement with a staff recommendation to
remove endangered species act protections for all of Oregon's 81
known gray wolves.
Several commissioners said they would have preferred to remove
the animals from the list only in Eastern Oregon, where most of
them reside. However, state statute only makes room for
statewide endangered species decisions.
Commissioners directed Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
staff to work with lawmakers to consider a bill to change that
statute. They also directed staff to work on a proposal to
increase the legal penalty for killing a wolf.
Currently, the maximum penalty for doing so is up to a year in
jail and a $6,250 fine.
"Everyone on this panel cares about the wolf," commission
Chairman Michael Finley said of Monday's decision. "I think you
can see by asking for increased penalties and our statement
about the future regulations that we mean that."
Activists said they are likely to sue over the decision on the
grounds that the science behind it didn't undergo an adequate
The animals reached a population milestone this year -- four
breeding pairs for the third straight year -- that triggered a
state process to consider removing them from the list.
That process has reignited heated debate about the predators'
role in Oregon's ecosystem and economy, pitting conservationists
who laud the wolves' crucial role in the ecosystem against
ranchers and hunters who argue wolves put too much pressure on
livestock and game animals.
State biologists recommended statewide delisting, citing science
indicating wolves will continue to grow more numerous and
broaden their territory, regardless of whether they stay on the
Either way, the animals will remain protected under the Oregon
wolf plan, which bans killing wolves except in self defense and
in very limited circumstances to defend pets and livestock.
Wolves in western Oregon also are protected under the federal
Endangered Species Act.
State wolf coordinator Russ Morgan characterized wolves'
continued expansion in Oregon as a "success story," signaling
they are no longer in danger of being eradicated from the state.
Emotions ran high as dozens of wolf advocates and foes lined up
to plead their case before the commission. A standing room only
crowd of about 200 packed the room.
The lines of allegiance were clearly drawn. On the right side of
the room sat wolf advocates, most from western Oregon with
several wearing orange T-shirts bearing a wolf's image. Hunting
advocates and Eastern Oregon ranchers in cowboy hats sat on the
"This is an emotional decision for most, if not all, of you on
one side of the issue or another," Finley told audience members.
"We are aware of it. We ourselves are subject to similar
emotions, but our job is to be objective."
Audience testimony ranged from tearful pleas for continued
protections to ominous predictions that continued wolf expansion
could result in human fatalities.
Ranchers, hunters and Eastern Oregon politicians urged the state
to remove the wolf from the list, arguing keeping it listed
would undermine the state management plan and breed resentment
from landowners who have waited years for greater latitude to
use lethal force to protect their livestock.
Failing to do so could "break the faith with the farmers and
ranchers," said Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena.
The plan does not require wolves' removal from the list at any
point in time, but it assumes they will no longer be listed once
wolves move into a third phase of management.
Conservationists, arguing Monday's decision was premature, noted
that plan is up for a mandatory 10-year review that could
produce significant changes to the state's management policies.
"Implementers of the plan are subject to the whims of political,
economic and social pressures," said Amoroq Weiss, a wolf
advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Advocates also raised concerns about the scientific basis for
the state biologists' recommendation and accused the department
officials of catering to a "vocal minority" in the hunting and
Weiss said conservationists' issues with the science are likely
to result in a lawsuit.
State law requires a panel of independent scientists to review
any decision to delist an endangered species. The state
solicited "courtesy reviews" from four outside scientists after
conservationists warned them that failing to obtain a review
could be illegal.
Weiss argued the reviews were done too hastily to hold weight
and also criticized the department for picking its own
Ranchers, on the other hand, accused conservationists of turning
their back on a management protocol they agreed to follow before
wolves crossed into Oregon from Idaho in 2008.
"You have an obligation to make sure that deal is honored,"
rancher Cheryl Martin told the commission.
-- Kelly House
Wolf depredation: No lethal action planned for calf attacks.
Wolf OR-25 believed to be perpetrator
by Lacey Jarrell, Herald and News 11/10/15
The state offers a tax credit for the market
value of livestock killed by a wolf. To receive the credit,
landowners must first get a confirmed kill certification from
The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s wolf
compensation program awarded $150,830 to eight counties in 2014.
Officials are taking only non-lethal action against OR-25,
the wolf believed to have killed one calf and injured two others
at a ranch north of Klamath Falls.
The depredations occurred near the upper Williamson River on
private land, according to a news release. The three attacked
calves were being held in a 100-acre pasture with several other
6-month-old, 300- to 350-pound weaner calves.
Wildlife officials believe the Oregon wolf designated “OR-25”
killed and injured the animals because his GPS radio collar
placed him at or near the calf carcass five times between
Wednesday, Oct. 28, and Monday, Nov. 2.
Tom Collom, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
district biologist who investigated the depredation, said
skeleton and hide was all that remained of the killed calf.
“The carcass had been well fed on, partially by OR-25 and
possibly other scavengers — coyotes, birds and everything else,”
Collom said based on the “freshness of what flesh was left on
the ribs and legs,” the carcass was probably less than week old.
Both injured calves have major trauma on their left rear legs.
Collom said the tissue was torn about 9 inches down the leg and
about 3 or 4 inches wide.
He said chunks of tendon and muscle tissue were missing.
Infection became an issue, too, but both calves have a decent
chance of surviving, according to Collom.
Roaming the region
OR-25 is a 2.5-year-old male that made his first appearance in
Klamath County in May, after disbursing from northeast Oregon’s
Imnaha Pack in March 2015. During his dispersal, OR-25 traveled
through the Columbia Basin, the Southern Blue Mountains, and
Northern and Central Cascade Mountains.
Collom said according to OR-25’s GPS collar, the wolf has ranged
a fairly wide area, from the east side of Yamsi Ranch, north to
the Klamath Marsh and down as far south as the Sycan River.
A new ODFW area of known wolf activity designating OR-25’s range
was published in August.
John Stephenson, a wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, said after the depredation, a handful of
non-lethal deterrents were installed around the cattle pasture.
One ragbox (radio activated guard box) with a noisemaker and
strobe light was installed. Stephenson explained that when a
wolf with a GPS collar is within range of the box, it triggers
noise and light mechanisms meant to startle the animal.
“It can be a pretty effective deterrent to scare the bejeebers
out of them,” Stephenson said.
Two strobes that flash intermittently throughout the night were
Stephenson said if these tools fail, officials may try fladry
fencing, which drapes strips of fabric or colored flags over
wire fence. He noted that these are the same deterrents used to
protect against wolf depredation in northeastern Oregon.
“I’m hopeful what we have out there now will be effective,”
County maintains protection status
In Eastern Oregon, the objective of sustaining four breeding
pairs over three consecutive years was met in January.
Wolves in Oregon are protected under separate state and federal
endangered species acts. The 2005 ODFW Oregon Wolf Plan set a
population objective of four breeding pairs for three
consecutive years in eastern Oregon. In 2014, that objective was
achieved. The region moved into the phase two of the plan and
adopted less stringent wolf management rules.
Only wolves occurring west of Oregon highways 395, 78 and 95 are
protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. Only one
breeding pair is confirmed to exist in the western two-thirds of
the state, so in addition to federal protection, under Oregon’s
wolf management plan, Klamath County is still in phase one.
“The only thing that can be done is non-lethal, non-injurious
types of harassment,” Collom said.
In Klamath County and other central and western Oregon counties,
wolves must be federally delisted and maintain at least four
breeding pairs for three years before the management plan will
downgrade to phase two.
OR-25 acting alone
According to the ODFW Oregon wolf population webpage, at least
81 wolves are in the state, but the “actual number of wolves in
Oregon is likely greater than this minimum estimate.”
Stephenson said no evidence has indicated more than one wolf is
in OR-25’s area of known wolf activity.
Collom said when OR-25 showed up in Klamath County, ODFW
officials set up trail cameras to learn whether or not he was
alone. Since that time, they have captured about six or seven
trail images of him.
“Each of those times he was by himself,” Collom said.
Officials haven’t gotten an image in more than a month, he
“What that tells us is he’s basically set up a home range. What
is unknown because he just got here in May, is what will happen
this winter,” Collom said.
Collom said although elk winter in or near OR-25’s area of known
wolf activity, most of deer begin moving east toward Silver Lake
in late October. The disappearing food source may have been what
triggered the attack.
“Not all wolf packs in Oregon, or elsewhere in the West, are
known to depredate. We’ve got wolf packs in Northeast Oregon
that are in and around livestock year-round and have not caused
any depredation issues,” Collom said.
Stephenson said landowners should bury or haul away old
carcasses and bones prevents attracting wolves or other
predators to cattle operations.
“Even if they are old white-washed bones, those will attract
wolves,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson said landowners concerned about wolves should contact
the Klamath Falls U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office or the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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