number of wolves in Oregon
A record number
of wolves are roaming the forests and fields of Oregon, 20
years after the species returned to the state.
Department of Fish and Wildlife reported Monday that the
number of known wolves in Oregon at the end of 2018 was 137,
a 10% increase over the previous year. There are likely even
more wolves because not all individuals or packs are located
during the winter count.
recovery of Oregon’s wolf population is something to
celebrate, and perhaps 2019 will be the year that wolves
return home to the Oregon Coast Range and Siskiyou
Mountains,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia
Wildlands, a conservation organization.
group warned against lifting wolf protections — as the Trump
administration is proposing — saying it would be premature
and a setback for the species that was almost exterminated
in the contiguous United States.
packs — defined as four or more wolves traveling together in
winter — were documented during the Oregon count, up from 12
packs in 2017. For the second straight year, resident wolves
were documented in a new area of the state — the central
portion of the Cascade Range.
attacks on domesticated animals increased 65 percent from
the previous year, with 28 confirmed incidents, most of them
on calves. But the attacks have not kept pace with the
increase in wolf population over the past nine years.
spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy attributed it to use of
non-lethal measures by the department and ranchers, such as
removing carcass and bone piles, electrified flagging,
deterrent lighting and other scare devices.
territorial expansion, the objective of maintaining four
breeding pairs in central and western Oregon for three years
had not been reached. In the east, the objective of seven
breeding pairs was exceeded.
wolves from its Endangered Species Act in 2016, though
they’re protected statewide as a special status game mammal.
Wolves in central and western Oregon continue to be
federally listed as endangered species.
But in March,
the U.S. Interior Department proposed lifting protections
for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states. That would allow
states to hold wolf hunting and trapping seasons.
Wildlands said “reckless state and federal plans ... could
reverse the progress wolves are making after their
systematic extermination nearly 70 years ago.” Many Western
states, including California, Colorado and Utah, have
extensive wolf habitat but few or no wolves, the group said.
executive director of Oregon Wild, added: “The slow and
steady progress of wolf recovery could still easily be
upended if ODFW and the Trump administration succeed in
their attempts to weaken protections.”
endangered species protections in 1975 when only 1,000
remained, all in northern Minnesota. Now, more than 5,000
wolves roam the contiguous U.S. The species returned to
Oregon in 1999 when a wolf that had been re-introduced into
Idaho crossed the state line.
of the gray wolf in Oregon reflects a trend.
The number of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New
Mexico has increased to at least 131 — the most since
federal biologists began reintroducing them into the
Southwest more than two decades ago, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service announced Monday.
- In Washington state,
gray wolves increased by four in 2018 to a minimum of
126, with one pack living for the first time west of the
- In California, one
pack has established itself, with the breeding male an
offspring of a wolf that had wandered south from Oregon
in 2011. A California judge recently upheld protection
for gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species
Act, rejecting a legal challenge from ranchers.
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