Oregon passes controversial plan to set the stage for trophy hunting of wolves

The commission’s final decision was influenced by a small but
belligerent lobby of trophy hunters and trappers, and built on
exaggerated claims about livestock conflict. Photo by Nathan
Hobbs/iStock.com

Oregon has just made it easier for trophy hunters and trappers
to go after the state’s small population of wolves.

In a move strenuously opposed by scientists, environmentalists
and animal protection groups, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Commission on Friday
updated
its Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, opening the
door for the trophy hunting of wolves in areas of the state where
they are no longer protected under the federal Endangered Species
Act.

There are just 137 known wolves in Oregon. The population is
still in a fragile state of recovery after decades of
indiscriminate hunting and trapping that had essentially wiped out
Oregon’s wolf population. It was only 10 years ago that the first
wolf returned to the state. Making it easier to kill these gorgeous
American native carnivores at this time makes no scientific sense
and it could very well drive them once more to the point of
extirpation.

The commission’s final decision was influenced by a small but
belligerent lobby of trophy hunters and trappers, and built on

exaggerated claims about livestock conflict
. The major cause of
livestock mortality in Oregon and elsewhere ​come from illness,
birthing and weather problems and theft. In fact, U.S. Department
of Agriculture data show that wolves were responsible for only 0.04
percent of cattle and sheep losses in the Northern Rocky Mountain
states, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming,
in 2014 and 2015. An analysis of this data by HSUS researchers
earlier this year showed that even these small numbers were highly
exaggerated by the USDA.

The best available science shows that native carnivores like
wolves keep ungulate herds healthy by removing the sick, weak, and
old animals. They rarely prey upon the prime-age breeding animals
favored by hunters. Yet, the plan also ​falsely asserts that
killing wolves boosts deer and elk populations. On the other hand,
as I
recently wrote in a blog
, keeping wolves in their native
ecosystems maintains the natural balance and removing them can lead
to an explosion of the populations of other predators, like
coyotes.

What is also of great concern to us is that Oregon’s plan
allows for cruel trapping. The state does not specify trap check
requirements for wolves and animals caught in traps can suffer for
days or even weeks, eventually dying of predation, dehydration,
starvation or extreme temperatures. These inhumane devices are also
highly indiscriminate and can snare family pets and other wildlife,
including endangered species.

Indiscriminately killing native carnivores is typically an
ineffective and costly approach to address livestock conflict and
research shows it will ultimately fail as a long-term strategy.
Non-lethal alternatives to predator removal, including simple
deterrence methods like fencing, guard animals, range riders, and
noisemaking and fladry devices to protect livestock, are more
effective strategies for keeping conflicts low.

Oregon’s plan is especially problematic because it comes at a
time when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already proposed
stripping gray wolves of federal protections across the lower 48
states. If that proposed rule passes, trophy hunters and trappers
could be free to go after wolves anywhere in the state. Oregon’s
Gov. Kate Brown has voiced her opposition to the national
delisting, but we are disappointed that her office failed to demand
that the state’s own agency maintain protections for wolves.

America’s wolves are not a tool for politicians and wildlife
officials to appease trophy hunters and trappers. A majority of
Americans — and Oregonians — do not support the trophy hunting
and trapping of wolves, and would much prefer to see these animals
alive and thriving in the wild than as a trophy in someone’s
living room. We still have an opportunity to influence our federal
government to do the
right thing
by not delisting wolves from the Endangered Species
Act. Help us end the war on wolves by
submitting a comment
and by telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service you oppose this scientifically unsound and politically
motivated rule.

The post
Oregon passes controversial plan to set the stage for trophy
hunting of wolves
appeared first on A Humane World.

Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
Oregon passes controversial plan to set the stage for trophy hunting of wolves