Category Archives: Oregon

More Trouble for Wolves in Oregon 

Can non-native wolves receive protections reserved for native species in Oregon

Later this year the Oregon Court of Appeals will consider whether it was lawful for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to remove the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list in late 2015. Disagreeing with the wolf’s delisting, three environmentalist groups challenged it last year.

Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation as intervenors defending the delisting, and yesterday filed brief responding to the environmentalist groups’ challenge to the delisting.

Their brief focuses on two primary arguments:

Oregon was legally compelled to delist the wolf because the only wolves present in the state are members of a non-native wolf subspecies, but the Oregon Endangered Species Act (ESA) only protects species native to Oregon; and when analyzing the status of species under the Oregon ESA, the state must consider a species’ current range, not its historical range.

Their case:

“First, the wolves native to Oregon are members of the Great Plains wolf (canis lupus nubilus) subspecies of gray wolf, but they ceased to exist in Oregon in the late 1940s. In the mid 1990s, members of the Canadian timber wolf (canis lupus occidentalis) subspecies were introduced into Idaho and Montana, and in subsequent years the offspring of those introduced wolves spread and multiplied, eventually establishing themselves in Oregon and leading to the current controversy.

The difference between wolf subspecies is not merely a paper distinction. The Canadian timber wolves tend to be larger than the Great Plains wolves, and as a result, have a greater impact on prey species and cattle. Furthermore, Oregon already recognizes differences between animal subspecies under its ESA, and the federal government even manages wolves differently depending on the subspecies. So, it cannot be overlooked that Oregon’s Endangered Species Act expressly limits the law’s protections to species that are native to the state.” 

Therefore, because the Canadian timber wolves are not native to Oregon, they do not qualify for protection under the state ESA.”

“It is also important to note that removing state ESA protections for non-native wolves does not leave them vulnerable to extirpation. Wolves remain protected under the federal ESA in western Oregon, but as recognized by the state and federal governments, wolves have thrived in eastern Oregon, so it is appropriate to allow for their management in accordance with the state wolf management plan.

Second, regardless of whether the wolves in Oregon qualify for state ESA protection, the environmentalists question Oregon’s analysis of the wolves’ success in establishing an Oregon population. One way the environmentalists question the state’s analysis is by focusing on the fact that wolves do not currently occupy most of their historical range in the state. But due to modern development in the decades since wolves disappeared from Oregon, it makes no sense to focus on historical range to determine whether wolves are at risk of extinction in the state now. Instead, the state properly considered whether wolves could continue to thrive in their current range, and concluded that they can.”

As a result, PLF asserts that the Court of Appeals should uphold the state’s delisting of the gray wolf from the Oregon ESA, and that such a conclusion is in line with the ESA’s text, the legislature’s intent, and “common sense”.

For more information, read the entire brief


Seems the war against the wolf never will end.


HSUS Condemns Oregon’s Cougar and Wolf Decisions

“I think people expected better of Oregon.

Most Oregonians did, that’s for sure. So, the appointed managers entrusted with preserving Oregon’s grand and diverse wildlife heritage need to reconvene and reverse course. Right away.

Or Gov. Kate Brown needs to intervene in defense of our wild animals and to uphold the will of Oregonians.

Today, there are only 90 wolves in the whole state. By any measure, and most of all by the metric of common sense, that is the very definition of endangered. Wolves deserve the protection that Oregon affords animals on the brink.

But the state Fish and Wildlife Commission has decreed otherwise. Turning back the clock a century, the commission has cracked open the door to trophy hunters who want to add another glass-eyed stuffed head to their living room wall. Commissioners voted to eliminate endangered-species protections for our wolves in big swaths of our wildlands.

As they say in the comedy shows, I’m not making this up. Ninety wolves. Go get ’em!

You can make up your own mind whether commissioners lived up to their responsibility. As they themselves put it: to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.

Future generations. Ha! This is a nasty, back-door win for a small number of trophy hunters. A fatal loss for wolves. A thumb in the eye to countless thousands of Oregonians who understand the simple truth: The state’s eco-system has been imbalanced. Nature knows best.

Commissioners, do your job: Protect the 90.

And while you’re at it, you can reverse your equally wrong-headed decision to allow the wholesale slaughter by trophy hunters of all cougars living in target zones located on 6,236 square miles of Oregon’s wildlands.

Commissioners will say that lifting endangered species protection for wolves doesn’t automatically signal a return to trophy hunting. Then why do it? Perhaps in hopes that the people of Oregon will be busy paying attention to other matters as the demise of the wolf plays out step-by-step?

What a cynical, lopsided approach to governance.

Commissioners would like people to believe that 90 wolves are taking too many deer away from 1.7 million licensed hunters. Really — 90 vs. 1,700,000?

Either commissioners don’t understand nature, or don’t want you to. To the extent that wolves prey on deer, they remove the old and the weak. Hunters are gunning for the big and the strong. So which is the better strategy for healthy deer populations?

The truth is simple: Oregon’s native carnivores keep our ecosystems healthy and diverse. Countless eons of history prove it. Oregonians want wildlife to flourish. Wolves and cougars have a far better track record than these few appointed officials doing the bidding of trophy hunters.

Commissioners, please meet again and vote for nature, not against it. For all Oregonians, not just the few with “trophy” rooms.

Governor, please lend your good office to the cause. The people of Oregon deserve better than they got this time.” ~Scott Beckstead

Scott Beckstead of Sutherlin is senior Oregon state director for the Humane Society of the United States. He can be reached at

Originally posted by The Statesman Journal

Photo By Jeremy Weber