Oregon agrees to kill 2 more wolves, citing attack on cow
The Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife authorized the slaughter of two more wolves in eastern Oregon, weeks after the state shot dead two young wolves from the same pack.
The Lookout Mountain pack was suspected of injuring or killing five cows in two weeks in July, and the state on Monday allowed ranchers to kill up to four of the wolves, excluding the breeding pair. Another cow was attacked on Friday and the state approved an extension of the original permit, The Oregonian / OregonLive reported.
The pack consists of the breeding pair, both equipped with radio collars, two yearlings and five 4 month old puppies. Their territory is primarily located in Baker County, near the Idaho and Washington borders.
Two of the seven puppies in the pack were shot dead by state officials from a helicopter earlier this month.
Officials said the time between attacks showed their strategy was working.
âWe had five dead cows on the landscape in 14 days,â said Derek Broman, a state carnivorous biologist, who noted that the pack had moved about 15 miles (24 kilometers) after the two wolves have been killed. “We took action, and then we had no dead animals for 18 days.”
Wolf conservation advocates say they are shocked the state agency wants even more wolves dead.
Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement that the claim that the puppies’ deaths resulted in a longer delay before the next conflict is not credible.
âAny scientist knows that correlation is not causation,â he said.
Ranchers grazing cattle near the Lookout Mountain pack have already tried non-lethal ways to prevent their animals from being attacked by wolves, including keeping their animals away from wolves and using radio sensors that trigger bright lights and loud sirens when the wolves’ collars are detected, according to Broman.
Because none of these methods prevented further attacks on cattle, Broman said the state was compelled to consider other ways to change the behavior of the pack.
âThis tool is not a retribution,â he said. âIt is a tool for preventing conflicts.
Broman said the extreme drought affecting Oregon, along with recent heat waves, could cause canids to search for easier prey, a point echoed by Sristi Kamal, the Northwest’s senior representative for Defenders of Wildlife. Kamal strongly disagrees with the state solution, however.
“Instead of killing wolves (the state) should prioritize tools and methods of coexistence, especially as our vulnerable wolf population is already facing threats from drought and water crisis in course, “Kamal said in a statement.
As of April, the state had 173 wolves in 22 identified packs.
Gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list in January, allowing fish and wildlife to take over the management of their populations.
A coalition of 70 groups has filed an official petition to put the gray wolf back on the endangered species list across the West. Last week, however, lawyers for the Biden administration asked a California federal judge to dismiss the prosecution of the defenders of wildlife.
Gary Frazer, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy director for ecological services, suggested last week that the federal government could still take action to restore protections if declining populations put wolves back on the brink of extinction. .