NOTE: This is a guest post from Alex Ralston, Online Organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Wolves are just starting to regain a foothold in Oregon and now the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is pushing for a new law to kill all four surviving members of the Imnaha pack.
The new legislation is aimed at circumventing the Oregon Endangered Species Act and could open the floodgates for similar measures to eliminate safeguards for wildlife that are unpopular with livestock, logging and development interests.
The Imnaha pack was the first wolf pack in Oregon in more than 60 years. Today, roughly 29 wolves roam the state in four packs.
Ranchers have complained that wolves last year killed nearly 25 cows in the state — but in 2010, 55,000 cows in Oregon were lost to weather, disease and thieves.
That’s not stopping ranching groups from ganging up on Oregon’s fledgling wolf population. Last fall, the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies filed emergency legal action to win a temporary reprieve of plans to kill two members of the Imnaha pack, including the alpha male.
Now the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is turning to the legislature to accelerate the killing. We can’t let that happen.
Decades of persecution and intolerance drove wolves out of existence across much of the U.S. Today, wolves occupy just 5 percent of their historic range.
In Oregon, wolves are protected as an endangered species under the state’s Endangered Species Act and in 2005, the state adopted a wolf-management plan that allowed for wolves to be killed in response to livestock depredations — but only after nonlethal measures to solve problems with depredations had been employed.
Shooting wolves is supposed to be a last option, especially in Oregon, where the work of returning wolves to the landscape they once roamed is just getting under way.
You can help save Oregon’s first family of wolves by signing the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition.