BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Oregon are stepping up efforts to kill wolves from a pack in the eastern part of the state due to continued attacks by the animals and evidence they are now focusing on livestock.
KTVZ reports the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife decision Thursday comes after nine livestock depredations in two months — despite extensive non-lethal measures in place since early spring, and the killing of two wolves from the Lookout Mountain wolf pack in early August.
ODFW said it is issuing limited-duration kill permits to four impacted livestock producers that allow them to take two uncollared wolves from the ground on land they own or legally occupy from now until Oct. 31.
The agency also said it intends to lethally remove another four wolves, including the VHF-collared breeding male. State officials say they do not plan to target the GPS-collared breeding female.
“This pack has made a shift in their behavior,” says Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “Instead of the occasional opportunistic killing of a vulnerable calf, now they are targeting livestock despite the high numbers of elk and deer in the area where the depredations have occurred and extensive human presence to haze wolves.”
Conservation groups are critical of state policies allowing the killing of wolves and argue gray wolves still need protection as the species is still recovering.
“Whenever wolves are put on the chopping block, it is a tragedy,” Sristi Kamal, senior northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. “Lethal control is never a long-term solution and any pups that will be killed under these permits did not even participate in the hunts. There are better solutions than just killing wolves to cultivate social acceptance."