PORTLAND, Ore. – Environmental groups have withdrawn from talks aimed at updating the wolf management plan in Oregon.
Wolf conservation advocates, ranchers and hunters have been meeting with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for months to update the rules that protect and manage the state’s rebounding wolf population.
One hotly debated topic is how and when wolves can be killed when they attack livestock.
Oregon Wild, Defenders of Wildlife, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity say in a letter to Gov. Kate Brown that ODFW has rejected all their suggestions as too expensive or two difficult.
The agency’s draft for a new wolf plan last year was sharply criticized by the same groups. Under the proposed policy two livestock attacks within either a nine-month or 12-month period would trigger lethal removal of the offending wolves, reports Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Conflict between ranchers and wolves has grown as the species makes a comeback in the state.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s lethal removal policy allows killing wolves if they prey on livestock three times in a 30-day period or four times in a 10-month period. That policy was developed in 2016 by WDFW and its 18-member Wolf Advisory Group, which represents the concerns of environmentalists, hunters and livestock ranchers.
The policy also stipulates that cattle producers have employed at least two proactive deterrence techniques. Lethal control is allowed in the eastern third of the state where wolves are protected by state endangered species rules. Wolves remain federally protected in the western two-thirds of the state.
Eli Francovich contributed to this report.
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