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Oregon : Full Wolf Report : Imnaha Wolf Pack Worries Wallowa County Ranchers as Pups Enter Adolescence

Animals  (tags: Wolves, Cattlemen, Oregon, wildanimals, wildlife, sadness, society, suffering, protection, humans, ethics, cruelty, animals, animaladvocates, endangered, environment, extinction, killing, killed, animalwelfare, AnimalWelfare, habitat, conservation )

- 2270 days ago -
A new generation of exuberant juvenile gray wolves is bursting out of puppyhood in northeastern Oregon this winter, and Wallowa County's ranchers are worried about their livestock as the spring calving season draws near.


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roxy H (350)
Tuesday February 26, 2013, 8:41 am
NOTE : Please Send Silent Good Luck to the WOLVES In OREGON.... They Need this.... Oregon is the ONLY State so far... with California next... that is really trying to SAVE the Wolves.... and they are working HARD!!! .... rally behind them! .... THEY NEED ALL THE PEOPLE BEHIND OREGON!!!!


OREGON : Full report....

Imnaha wolf pack worries Wallowa County ranchers as pups enter adolescence...

A new generation of exuberant juvenile gray wolves is bursting out of puppyhood in northeastern Oregon this winter, and Wallowa County's ranchers are worried about their livestock as the spring calving season draws near.

Oregon is home to 53 gray wolves, up from just two in 2007 thanks to recovery efforts. Many were born in spring 2012, a year after the Oregon Court of Appeals halted the killing of Oregon wolves by government hunters. Now those pups are close to full-grown, tipping the scales at around 70 pounds.

Ranchers are especially concerned about the Imnaha pack near Joseph, whose numbers hit 15 three years ago. The pack has caused problems for ranchers in the past. It has shrunk to two adults and six pups and was on its best behavior last year. But those pups are reaching maturity.

A year-old gray wolf "is a little ball of energy," said rancher Todd Nash. "He wants to get in trouble all the time."

Wolves were hunted, trapped and poisoned for bounty across Oregon until the early half of the 20th century.

Wallowa County has been wolf central in Oregon's Canis lupus recovery program since two gray wolves migrated here from Idaho in 2007 and paired up along the southern edge of the 560-square-mile Eagle Cap Wilderness. By late 2009, the state's wolf population was 14, and today it's almost four times that.

Measuring the impact of the rising wolf population on livestock is difficult to do with any precision; when wolves devour cattle, the evidence often disappears. But both ranchers and wolf advocates say predation was down in 2012.

Nash's 100,000-acre government grazing allotment near Joseph sustained two "probable" livestock kills by wolves. That's in contrast to his estimates of 12 wolf kills in 2011 on his 550-cow Marr Flat Cattle Co. ranch, 15 in 2010 and 20 in 2009.

"My numbers came out way better than they have for the past four years," Nash said.

Eight sheep also were killed or injured by wolves in 2012 along the Umatilla River near Pendleton, said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The apparent drop-off in predation has wolf advocates jubilant, coming as it did after the court ordered a cease-fire on wolves that kill livestock.

"The numbers don't lie," said Rob Klavins, spokesman for Oregon Wild, a Portland-based conservation group. "Wolf numbers went up and the conflicts went down when the wolf killing program was put on hold."

Klavins credits non-lethal techniques that ward off attacks, including flaggery -- pennants dangling from fences that are believed to frighten wolves -- range riders on horseback, radio-activated alarms and closer monitoring of cattle by ranchers. A stable base of elk and deer for wolves to consume has also helped, he said.

Klavins' explanation isn't universally accepted among ranchers. They agree, though, that the Imnaha pack kept its distance. The pack spent much of 2012 on the Eagle Cap Wilderness' southern boundary along Big Sheep Creek, Fish Lake and Duck Lake, away from cattle. The wolves "stayed close to their puppies and they didn't wander as much," Nash said.

Wolf packs
Oregon currently has six known packs of gray wolves, plus others roaming the mountains and high desert. They are:
Imnaha pack, 8 wolves
Snake River pack, 7
Walla Walla pack, 6
Wenaha pack, 11
Upper Minam River pack, 7
Umatilla River wolves, 4
Minam pack, 5
Sled Springs pair, 2
Individual wolves, 2
Radio-collared "disperser," 1 wolf
Source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

But ranchers are concerned that the perceived downward trend in predation may reverse itself, based on an incident Jan. 28. That day, the Imnaha pack killed a cow and injured another on rancher Karl Patton's property near Enterprise.

"We are expecting it to be quite a bit worse this spring," said Nash, predicting the Imnaha pack will be back in the thick of things.

Robyn Brown, assistant wolf coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in La Grande, said the pack's alpha male, its alpha female and all six adolescent pups were present when Patton's cow was killed last month.

"This is a chronically depredating pack," said Brown. "These are wild animals, and you can't predict what they are going to do."

Klavins remains upbeat. The Imnaha wolves lived on wild game and stayed out of trouble most of last year, he said.

"And this is from a pack that was considered incorrigible," he said.

How to manage the growing presence of wolves in northeastern Oregon is a controversial topic.

Wallowa County Commissioner Paul Castilleja of Joseph wants to see a bill in the Oregon Legislature calling for a "wolf translocation program" to distribute some of Wallowa County's gray wolves elsewhere in Oregon. Relocating some Wallowa County wolves would enable all Oregonians to "observe and enjoy the full ecological benefits of the return of the wolf," he said.

Oregon is the only state with a meaningful wolf population where wolves weren't deliberately killed by government hunters and sportsmen last year, Klavins said. During 2012, at least 1,030 gray wolves were legally killed for sport in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, he said.

Ed Bangs, the now-retired coordinator of gray wolf recovery for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, suggested government hunters

Continuing coverage of the gray wolf in Oregon.
might resume controlling livestock-killing Oregon wolves in 2015. By then the state is likely to achieve its goal of four breeding pairs of wolves for three consecutive years.

Klavins doesn't want the government to resume hunting wolves that kill cattle and sheep. He thinks the Court of Appeals' cease-fire order has allowed Oregon's wolf recovery program to get back on track. "We'd like to keep it that way," he said.

Carlene D (239)
Tuesday February 26, 2013, 9:19 am

jo M. (3)
Tuesday February 26, 2013, 8:25 pm
There is quite a bit of ranching and farming and elk hunting in northeastern Oregon so as wolves increase in number there are bound to be more conflicts. Oregonians have the chance now to come up with good solutions to those conflicts which will be fair to wolves as well as ranchers.

Danuta Watola (1251)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 2:34 am

June M (136)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7:32 am
thanks Roxy

paula eaton (30)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7:42 am
The idiot ranchers will be screaming for these wolves to be slaughtered. Boycott beef.

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 8:29 am
this is a never ending battle hey Roxy - noted my friend - always for the wolves....♥

Lydia Weissmuller Price (181)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 10:02 am
Stop shopping in the meat department and save future livestock and wolves.

Leslene Dunn (84)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 11:42 pm
My prayers are for these precious wolves every day - I believe in miracles, that they will be kept safe, but dear God, it has to be now. I wish these wolves would rise up and rip these hunters to shreds.

Veronique L (209)
Friday March 1, 2013, 8:00 am
Noted Thanks Roxy

Yvonne F (181)
Sunday April 14, 2013, 7:50 am
Thanks Roxy for the update on the wolves!
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