Two new wolf packs formed in Oregon last year. That brings the state’s total to six packs. Friday the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission learned what this could mean for possibly removing endangered species protection for the wolves.
2012 was the first year that more than four breeding wolf pairs were identified in Oregon. One goal for delisting gray wolves in the state: sustain four breeding pairs for three years.
Russ Morgan, Oregon’s wolf coordinator, briefed the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
“By December of 2014, December of next year, we could conceivably meet that conservation objective," Morgan says.
Morgan said the state investigated the same number of depredation cases in 2012 as in the previous year. But, he said, state agents confirmed fewer instances of wolves killing livestock.
That did little to satisfy eastern Oregon resident Bill Kelly, who worried about the growing Imnaha pack. Where was the pack last night? Kelly asked, as he read a statement to the commission.
“I can tell you it was on private land, eight miles from Joseph. If you as wildlife managers don’t need to know every night and worry, why would you expect to have another live this way?”
The commissioners asked when gray wolves would be delisted. Five criteria must be met, including the four breeding pairs.
There are five breeding pairs in Washington, and 101 in Idaho.
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