Kitzhaber signs 'last resort' wolf-killing bill
By The Associated Press Published: Jul 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM PDT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a bill allowing the state to resume killing wolves that make a habit of attacking livestock.

The governor signed the measure Friday, making Oregon the only state in the West where killing wolves that attack livestock is a last resort.

The measure puts into law provisions of a settlement between conservation groups and ranchers. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted other provisions of the settlement a week ago.

Ranchers will get new rights to shoot wolves that they see attacking their herd, but only if the attacks have become chronic and the ranchers can show they've taken nonlethal steps to try and stop them.

The Oregon Court of Appeals has blocked the state from killing wolves for more than a year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Wolf coordinator Russ Morgan sits with a female wolf pup just fitted with a radio collar in northeastern Oregon on Feb. 13, 2010.

Oregon has banned killing wolves since 2011~ Electric fences, flags and bells have been used effectively , but some farmers believe killing wolves is ultimately best
Oregon's no-kill wolf policy yields lower cow deaths
Groups hope other state's will adopt measures
1:30 p.m. EST March 2, 2013

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — As long as wolves have been making their comeback, biologists and ranchers have had a decidedly Old West option for dealing with those that develop a taste for beef: Shoot to kill. But for the past year, Oregon has been a "wolf-safe" zone, with ranchers turning to more modern, nonlethal ways to protect livestock.

While the number of wolves roaming the state has gone up, livestock kills haven't — and now conservation groups are hoping Oregon can serve as a model for other Western states working to return the predator to the wild.

"Once the easy option of killing wolves is taken off the table, we've seen reluctant but responsible ranchers stepping up," said Rob Klavins of the advocacy group Oregon Wild. "Conflict is going down. And wolf recovery has got back on track."

The no-kill ban has been in place since September 2011. That's when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it planned to kill two members of the Imnaha wolf pack in northeastern Wallowa County for taking livestock. Conservation groups sued, arguing that rules allowing wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks did not comply with the state Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Court of Appeals stepped in, prohibiting wolf kills while the two sides work to settle, although ranchers who catch wolves in the act of killing livestock may still shoot them.

At the end of 2012, wolf numbers in the state had risen to 46 from 29 in 2011, according to state fish and wildlife officials. Meantime, four cows and eight sheep were killed last year by two separate packs, while 13 cows were killed by one pack in 2011.

Wallowa County cattle rancher Karl Patton started giving nonlethal methods a try in 2010, after he fired off his pistol to chase off a pack of wolves in a pasture filled with cows and newborn calves. State wildlife officials provided him with an alarm that erupts with bright lights and the sound of gunshots when a wolf bearing a radio-tracking collar treads near. He also staked out fladry at calving time. The long strings of red plastic flags flutter in the wind to scare away wolves. The flags fly from an electrically charged wire that gives off a jolt to predators that dare touch it.

The rancher put 7,000 miles on his ATV spending more time with his herd, and cleaned up old carcasses that put the scent of meat on the wind. And state wildlife officials text him nightly, advising whether a wolf with a satellite GPS tracking collar is nearby.

"None of this stuff is a sure cure," said Patton, who worries the fladry will lose its effectiveness once wolves become accustomed to it. Such measures also can't be used in open range.

Seen as a scourge on the landscape, wolves were nearly wiped out across the Lower 48 by the 1930s. In 1995, the federal government sponsored the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. They eventually spread to Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and California.

With wolf numbers approaching 1,800, the federal government dropped Endangered Species Act protection in 2011 in the Northern Rockies, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington, and turned over recovery management to the states.

While ranchers are not happy with the wolf comeback, the wider public is. A 2011 survey for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found 74.5 percent of Washington residents believe it acceptable for wolves to recolonize their state.

Wolf advocates hope the Oregon experiment can spread elsewhere, especially Idaho, which had 746 wolves in 2011. In 2012, hunters and wildlife agents killed 422 wolves, compared with 296 for 2011. Sheep and cattle kills, meantime, went up from 192 in 2011 to 341 in 2012.

Idaho Fish and Game biologist Craig White said it "raised eyebrows" on both sides of the wolf debate when the livestock kills rose even as more wolves were killed. Previously the trend had been for livestock kills to go down as wolf kills went up. The state plans to continue killing wolves until elk herds — their primary prey and a popular game animal — start increasing, he said.

The Idaho numbers show "you can't manage wolves using conventional wisdom and assumption," said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife in Idaho. "Using these old archaic methods of managing predators by just killing them is not working."

In "no-kill" Oregon, ranchers disagree. Wallowa rancher Dennis Sheehy puts bells on his cattle to help scare away wolves. He also spends more time with his herd, and cleans up old bone piles. Nevertheless, he believes a kill option should always be on the table for wolves that prey on livestock. The 2011 ban, he said, "really upset people around here."

Patton has never lost a cow while using the fladry and alarms. But two were killed on the open range and one in a large pasture where such protection measures are impractical. He has also found tracks showing wolves crossed the fladry and walked among his cows without, for some reason, attacking them.

He still believes the only way to deal with wolves that attack cattle is to kill the whole pack.

"It's frustrating, more than anything, because we have our hands tied," he said. "You can kill a man (who) comes into your house to rob you. Wolves are more protected than people."


By Ron Meador | 03/07/13 Earth Journal

Oregon has proven that livestock can be protected from wolves by means other than killing the animals.
From Oregon comes a hopeful little success story about raising cattle in wolf country, wherein ranchers are protecting their herds with colorfully nonlethal alternatives to trapping and shooting.

From the AP science writer Jeff Barnard, as published over the weekend in the Christian Science Monitor:

As long as wolves have been making their comeback, biologists and ranchers have had a decidedly Old West option for dealing with those that develop a taste for beef: Shoot to kill. But for the past year, Oregon has been a "wolf-safe" zone, with ranchers turning to more modern, nonlethal ways to protect livestock.

While the number of wolves roaming the state has gone up, livestock kills haven't — and now conservation groups are hoping Oregon can serve as a model for other Western states working to return the predator to the wild.

Leading the list of those techniques appears to be the practice of fladry, an apparently antiquarian word but a new one to me. It would seem to be pronounced kind of like "philandery" without the N. Sometimes it's written as flaggery.

Anyway, it's a preventive strategy that consists of decorating the perimeter of a livestock enclosure with flapping, bright-colored plastic streamers that hang like socks from a clothesline. Except for being about four feet off the ground, in the photos I saw, they look rather like the pennant streamers our species uses to attract roaming packs of consumers to a new gift shop, filling station or takeout pizzeria.

Fladry is a preventive strategy that consists of decorating the perimeter of a livestock enclosure with flapping, bright-colored plastic streamers that hang like socks from a clothesline.
To Canis lupus, however, fladry is a proven and powerful repellent.

A 2003 research paper published in the journal Conservation Biology documented fladry's effectiveness as a barrier to both tame and wild wolves, and in areas where high livestock losses indicated that wolves weren't intimidated by human proximity alone.

A range of repellents
In Oregon, ranchers often use the streamers with other means, like electrified fences and motion-detecting alarm systems that greet approaching wolves with bright lights and  recorded gunshots.

Of course Oregon's wolf population is much smaller than ours — perhaps 46 at the end of last year. But it's also growing fast, up from 29 a year earlier. And while the confirmed livestock losses of a dozen or so per year are small in absolute terms, they would scale up to 800 animals a year in Minnesota if this state's 3,000 wolves were taking livestock at the same rate.

Minnesota's new trapping and hunting seasons are often justified as a response to livestock predation. But there is widespread skepticism that farmers with wolf problems can count on much benefit from these, driven as they are by sport and trophy-seeking rather than by geographically focused removal of the problem wolves.

Whether solely nonlethal means can be sufficient is debatable, too, but some Minnesota farmers are using alarms, guard dogs, even donkeys, and there doesn't seem to be anything about fladry that would make it inherently unsuitable or ineffective here. And the price might be appealing — 19 cents per meter of fenceline, according to the 2003 study.

(By the way, the main impact of Oregon's "no-kill" policy, which has been in effect since September 2011, was to halt trapping of wolves by government agents as an anti-predation measure. There, as here, farmers and ranchers can legally shoot wolves to protect livestock, but sport hunting and trapping remain illegal.

via earthandanimals.tumblr~dot~com

Wolves already subjected to torture; delisting will only condone slaughter

July 09, 2013 6:15 am  •  ONLINE-ONLY letter to the editor(4) Comments
I was appalled that the Missoulian is in favor of wolf delisting (editorial, June 18)!

The Endangered Species Act was introduced to protect wildlife from extinction. With the delisting of wolves in the Rockies, states were to manage the wolves’ continued recovery, protecting and nurturing wolves back to full recovery. Governments caved into special interests instead of science, opening expanded hunting seasons, unlimited numbers of kills, as well as permitting and encouraged wolf torture.

With the mentally that “predators” can be killed by any means, any time, wolves are tortured with snares and traps, baited with poisoned meat and meat laced with hooks, denning and hounding. Forums discuss gut- or spine-shooting, where the wolf dies slowly. The only limit to torture wolves face is your imagination. No creature has endured such brutally. If deer were subject to these cruel behaviors, public outcries would have abolished these acts years ago. Why is the wolf treated differently?

Wolves maintain a healthy balance by killing the weak, aged or ill, maintaining a healthy herd, and preventing over-grazing. With 6,000 wolves left, wolves are not recovered. Some states where wolves once roamed have not seen any recovery.

If the Fish and Wildlife Service delists the wolves and allows the states to manage them, slaughtering will continue, instead of recovery. This has already been proven by these so-called state management plans.

I’m 54, a health care worker who loves driving throughout the country. I’m amazed how spectacular this land is. Wildlife and nature are gifts man has no right to destroy. Wildlife needs to be embraced, not destroyed restlessly for trophies in barbaric manners. The United States speaks of peace to the world, yet we cannot live in peace with wildlife. Twenty percent of the wolves were already killed in Yellowstone National Park. With delisting I, like others, may never visit Yellowstone National Park; why bother?

Irene Sette,

New Milford, N.J

Wolves 2013-11 by etienne242.deviantart~dot~com on @deviantART Thank you!> Ann Cawley <3

Heyya Wolves!
We seem to spend a lot of time asking you to leave a comment, send an email, read some wolf news, and alway, always beseeching you to sign those petitions.
I for one want to be able to talk about alternative ideas. Frankly I do not care about much other than keeping our wolves on this planet and away from the brink of extinction.
So, I was wondering what you Wolves think? How many ways are there for us to approach the conflict between #wolflovers and #wolfhaters.

Personally, I like the idea of protected #wolfsafezones. 
We have some states in the western U.S.A. that appear to want to keep their wolves alive, while we have those other states in the the western U.S.A. that have not much of a desire to do so. 
So a Protected WolfSafe Zone will probably not reside in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming. But that leaves Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and California as possible options. 

Could we convince policy lawmakers and state governments to consider this option? Would the #wolfhaters be able to lay down their weapons if the wolves no longer lived in their backyard? I don't know, it's just a thought I've had for a little while.


Wolf Management Policy in the West — Is Compromise Possible?

Recent conversations with scientists at conferences, along with several comments made recently by readers of The Wildlife News got me thinking about this question. In one of the more bleak moments, a reader commented:

After years of reading and posting here, I finally got enough that I spoke out. I am a conservationist, I commit time, money and my heart to being a part of solutions. I may have finally lost all hope that there are any! It feels like reading here can do the same damage as beating my head with a sledge hammer! Nobody wants to listen, or learn—-just preach and demoralize others who differ in opinion from them.

I have certainly felt similarly of late. It seems that a variety of groups are more interested in using the wolf issue as tool to promote an agenda, than in finding a reasonable policy compromise that has a chance of appeasing the various interested parties. After a bit of reflection, it occurred to me that some of the data we’ve collected recently might assist in finding an answer. Specifically, I returned to a survey of readers of The Wildlife News that we conducted back in March of 2011, right before wolves were removed from federal ESA protections. In this survey we asked several questions about policy preferences, and we also asked people the extent to which they identified with a variety of interest groups (e.g., hunters, environmentalists, etc.). I went back to these data and correlated support for each management policy with interest group identification. The results (see Table 1., below) highlight policies that will promote conflict, but also provide some indication of where compromise will be found. I used color codes to help with the interpretation. In order to avoid help avoid bias, I designated color codes using Cohen’s (1988) interpretations of effect size: yellow indicates little to no correlation between group and the policy, green indicates positive correlation, red indicates negative correlation; the strength of the effect is indicated by the darkness of the color–darker colors indicating a stronger effect.

I’m providing these data to stimulate dialogue regarding reasonable compromises. I am not trying to promote any particular agenda or policy, so I will refrain from interpreting this table any further except to say that I’ve highlighted (in bright yellow) two other important numbers (i.e., variance and item mean).  Variance can be interpreted as the amount of variability across respondents on any given answer.  So lower variability means less disagreement.  Likewise, I’ve highlighted the the only policy that had a positive mean score (which could be interpreted as the most support). A word of caution: these data were collected via online solicitation of readers here at The Wildlife News; this should not be considered a representative sample of the general public.  I look forward to an interesting discussion!

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