Wolf report review slated for ODFW meeting April
Wolf numbers continue
to rise in Klamath County
meeting of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
Commission in Klamath Falls will, among other topics,
provide a review of the 2016 wolf report and a recently
published revised draft of the wolf management plan.
The meeting, scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday, April 21 in the
Ponderosa room of the Running Y Ranch Resort conference
center, will include a presentation of documents published
Monday reviewing the most recent wolf survey data and
management plans. An additional commission meeting is slated
for May 19 in Portland at the Embassy Suites Portland
presentation will be informational in nature, not subject to
adoption as of yet, and public comment is still being
Based on the
most recent survey data, ODFW counted 112 known wolves in
Oregon, a slight increase from 110 the previous year. A
total of 11 packs were documented, eight of which included
breeding pairs. This marked the third consecutive year that
more than seven breeding pairs were confirmed in Eastern
Oregon, where the majority of Oregon-based wolves have
migrated from the relocated wolves placed in Idaho over a
decade ago. That figure moves the East Wolf Management Zone
into Phase 3 of wolf management, whereas numbers in Klamath
County are not large enough to move beyond Phase 1 as
dictated in the current Wolf Conservation and Management
survey results noted an expansion in northeast and southwest
Oregon, confirmed 24 livestock depredation incidents (an
increase from the previous year), seven wolf deaths
confirmed including three that were radio-collared, and 11
additional collars placed on wolves.
At a recent
Natural Resources Advisory Council meeting in Klamath Falls,
ODFW Biologist Tom Collom stated about 15 percent of the
current Oregon wolf population has been fitted with radio
collars, making exact population figures difficult to
the 2016 wolf survey results, ODFW published a draft edition
of a revised Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The plan
is the result of a year-long review to evaluate
effectiveness of current management operations and seeking
ways to improve. The revised draft plan includes new
sections on potential conservation threats and non-lethal
measures to prevent wolf-livestock conflicts.
“When the Plan
was first developed, Oregon had no known wolves and relied
heavily on information from other states,” said Russ Morgan,
ODFW wolf program coordinator. “This review of the Plan
incorporates more information from Oregon, and adds a great
deal of new science about wolves.”
The plan was
first negotiated between stakeholders and adopted by the
Commission in 2005 after ODFW’s largest-ever public process.
The draft Plan offers more details on several policies
agreed on in the original Plan, and takes into consideration
extensive public feedback.
presentation of revised draft plans will be informational
only at the April and May meetings, an official date for
consideration of adoption of the revised plans has yet to be
set. Residents are encouraged to attend either meeting to
provide feedback about management policies and revisions to
the Wolf Management Plan.
Other topics to
be discussed at the April 21 meeting include Pacific Halibut
fisheries regulations, ocean salmon fishing and ocean
terminal fisheries, threatened and endangered species list
revisions, access and habitat project funding, game bird
regulations, leftover limited landowner preference tags and
transfer of tags to terminally ill individuals. The
wolf-related topics are the final matter of discussion on
the meeting agenda.
who are unable to attend the meeting, public comments can be
left at the ODFW director’s office by calling 503-947-6044
or mailed to 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem, OR
97302. Information about the meeting agenda, wolf survey
results and the revised draft wolf management plan are
available at http://bit.ly/2p57Zxv.
Wolf numbers continue to rise in Klamath County
numbers in Klamath County and Oregon continue to
increase, according to experts, however the exact
numbers are hard to pin down.
wolf experts spoke to the Klamath County Natural
Resources Advisory Council Thursday regarding the Oregon
wolf management plan and the impact felt as a result of
rising wolf populations.
Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Tom Collom and
Paul Lewis, wolf advisory committee chair, detailed
study results and answered questions for more than an
hour before the 10-member panel.
noted that 2016 survey results will not be available for
another week or two, yet remained confident that wolf
populations in Oregon and locally in Klamath County were
on the rise.
Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery relocated approximately 100
wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho.
Collom estimated that population to have grown to 1,700
wolves today, with many of the Central Idaho wolves
crossing the Snake River into Northeast Oregon and
migrating across the state from there. Of those, only
about 15 percent of the total wolf population has been
equipped with tracking collars, making official numbers
difficult to compile. Collom indicated the majority of
wolf packs in Oregon remain in the northeastern
County falls under Phase I of the Oregon Wolf Management
Plan, meaning it has yet to reach the wolf numbers of at
least seven breeding pairs producing two pups or more
that survive to the end of the year.
I only non-lethal forms of management are permitted,
whereas in northeastern Oregon, enough of a population
has developed that it has entered Phase III – permitting
lethal force if necessary due to wolf depredation of
in wolf numbers has kept Collom and ODFW busy surveying
wolf depredation reports. While the wolf population has
grown, Collom was quick to point out that depredation
cases have remained relatively low and steady, and that
not all wolves can be held responsible for the loss of
sheep and cattle.
Collom said that all five radio-collared wolves tracked
in Klamath County currently have been confirmed to have
been associated with a depredation case.
extremely polarizing as an issue,” said Collom. “Many in
the area think that we would be better off without
wolves, others relish the fact that wolves are coming
into the state.”
increased population in northeastern Oregon has removed
the wolf from the endangered list under Phase III of the
Oregon Wolf Management Plan, according to Collom the
species remains protected in western and southern parts
of the state.
presence not only creates potential for monetary loss
for livestock producers, but also an emotional toll on
animals and producers while potentially damaging future
generations through genetic breed stock loss.
ODFW standpoint, Collom described it as a workload
issue. They place a high-priority on wolf management
because of the potential threat to livestock, as well as
the possibility of livestock loss, ODFW provides
assistance wherever possible with non-lethal deterrents.
Non-lethal measures include fluttering fencing,
triggered noise alarms and alert devices, human presence
and a reduction of bone piles and carcass dumps that
tend to attack predators.
suggested removing any bone piles and burying any
carcasses at least six feet deep as a deterrent, as
often livestock remain in close proximity to places
where carcasses have been left.
commended the proactive approach taken by Klamath County
to form a wolf advisory committee, which is a necessity
in order to acquire reimbursements from the state for
committee’s purpose is to evaluate losses presented by
producers based on confirmed kills or damage, while also
stockpiling warning devices and deterrents to distribute
to livestock producers as needed.
I’m afraid is yet to come,” said Lewis of the rising
wolf populations and its inevitable impact. “As Klamath
County numbers build, depredation will only get worse.
Without changes to the budget we may not have money to
reimburse in the future.”
unanimously passed two recommendations to be submitted
to the Klamath County commissioners. The group suggested
that each commissioner should engage with ODFW crews
when depredation investigations are being conducted to
gain firsthand experience of the toll livestock loss has
Additionally, they encouraged commissioners to engage at
the state legislative level to encourage maintaining
funding for wolf and animal control programs.
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