|ODFW: Imnaha pups|
|anti-wolf propaganda in Wallowa|
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has a goal of delisting the species from the state's Endangered Species Act. Its wolf management plan permits lethal removal when there is a chronic predation problem and non-lethal measures have failed. Grey wolves were removed from federal protection by an act of Congress in April making the wolf the first species to be removed by an act of Congress. State wildlife officials attribute four livestock losses to wolves this year, but hunting permits have been issued to twenty-four ranchers claiming losses. These permits allow ranchers to shoot wolves caught in the act of predation on livestock, but none have actually witnessed an attack. Conservation groups defending the wolf are not convinced that all non-lethal measures are being exhausted. Thousands of wolves have been shot in the Northern Rockies by ranchers or government wildlife agents since federal reintroduction began*. In the southwest where wolves were reintroduced from a captive breeding program in 1998, scofflaws have killed 35 wolves including two alpha males, yet only two poachers have been caught and prosecuted for their crimes. Last year, a US Forest Service visitor center near Joseph in Wallowa County burned to the ground. Domestic dogs kill more livestock than wolves in Oregon, but nobody is hunting them to extinction.
*Some states like Montana claim to be adopting a biological approach that includes culling to "wolf management", but others like Idaho have declared an open season on the wolf that has nothing to do with preserving the species. The wolf has a well defined biological function in healthy ecosystems. When wolves are persecuted by man the balance of nature is upset causing further problems such as overpopulation of herbivores. It is not just 'touchy feely' sentimentalism that causes conservationists to defend wolf populations, nor should it be "little red riding hood syndrome" that causes their unjustified destruction.