|Consensus on ODFW Wolf Plan fails posted on 02/01/2019|
Despite conservation groups having withdrawn from the
meetings, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is finalizing a revised
Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to be presented to the state wildlife
commission next month.
Five meetings were held from August 2018 to January 2019
attended by stakeholders representing ranching, hunting and wolf conservation
but no consensus was attained on several issues including the number of
livestock depredations that would lead to lethal removal of wolves.
Last month, four conservation groups withdrew from the
“We were disappointed these groups left the discussion and
we did not have the full stakeholder group present at the final meeting,” said
Derek Broman, ODFW carnivore coordinator. “Since the drafting of the original
2005 plan, stakeholders remain very passionate so consensus is challenging to
The meetings were convened by Gov. Kate Brown, but the
conservation groups notified her and state wildlife commission they were
withdrawing, citing a flawed process for updating the state’s wolf plan and
lobbying by wildlife managers wanting to make it easier for the state to kill
Oregon’s wolf population has reached 124 according to ODFW’s
report of April 2018. Most of these wolves occupy areas in the eastern part of
Oregon, but two packs are currently known to inhabit the western Cascades.
“Poll after poll has shown that Oregonians support wolf
recovery and believe that conflicts with livestock should be avoided through
nonlethal approaches,” said Sean Stevens, executive director of Oregon Wild,
one of the four conservation groups involved in the meetings. “And yet ODFW
continues to insist on a plan that makes it ever-easier to kill wolves without
any enforceable standards.”
Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands, cited the return
of wolves to the Pacific Northwest as an incredible wildlife success story that
all Oregonians should be celebrating.
“Instead of assisting this recovery, our state government is
fixated upon killing the species at the behest of the commercial livestock
industry,” Cady said. “There are between 100 and 200 wolves in the state total.
This is absurd.”
Prior to talks breaking down, the groups were able to find
consensus on wolf collaring priorities, the desire to increase the use of
nonlethal techniques and funding enhanced population modeling.
In practice, ODFW has denied more lethal removal requests
for wolves than it has approved.
But the impasse continues with conservation groups – Oregon
Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of
Wildlife – continuing to believe ODFW discourages neutral oversight and
guidance to encourage meaningful discussion and collaborative brainstorming.
The wolf management plan will be presented to the governor
By Larry Berteau/MT