TAKE ACTION: More Oregon’s Imnaha Wolves Slated To Die

Alpha Male (father) Imnaha Pack  (Ear tagged and collared May 2011)

FROM: NE OREGON ECOSYSTEMS

More wolves to be killed, and extermination of the entire Imnaha pack is on the table.

ODFW announced yesterday that more Imnaha wolves may be killed, and Oregon conservationists share growing alarm that the entire pack may be exterminated. ODFW Regional Manager Craig Ely implied last month in a conversation with NE Oregon Ecosystems that this option might be on the table, and information from sources close to the ODFW have reinforced this conviction. As it is, the pack has been reduced from 16 members to 8 or less, and 3 wolves have been killed by ODFW this year. One has dispersed to Washington, one collared wolf has disappeared, the whereabouts of some others are unknown. The Imnaha pack is in real trouble…

The ODFW is under crushing pressure from Oregon cattlemen to kill wolves, and unless wolf supporters make their opinions known soon, this pack, Oregon’s first and biggest, its best chance of wolf recovery, will be killed. The opinions carrying the greatest weight will be those from NE Oregon residents. Our legislators, the governor, the ODFW, and the press need to hear from us, not just from the Oregon Cattlemen’s Assoc. and their friends.

Some points to consider:

The Imnaha pack represents half of Oregon’s wolves and the best chance for wolves to disperse to safer habitat in Central and Western Oregon, where livestock conflict is less likely.

Oregon wolves are protected by the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Wolf Plan, implemented in 2005 and revised in 2010, requires wolves to be managed for recovery until their numbers allow them to be delisted. Treating every depredation as a crisis to be solved by lethal removals is not a satisfactory management plan for recovering a population. Killing wolves should be only a last resort.

There will always be stock losses from wolves, just as there are from coyote, bear, dog, cougar, eagle,and others. The OWP is not designed to eliminate wolf depredation, any more than state policy is to eliminate losses from any other predator. Predators are part of the livestock business in the West, where huge tracts of public land rightfully provide a home for wildlife, and from which the ranchers benefit by grazing allotments. Despite the presence of the Imnaha pack, no rancher has gone out of business or is in danger of doing so from wolves.

Confirmed wolf depredations are compensated at full market value and probables reimbursed at half market value by Defenders of Wildlife. Vet bills for confirmed wolf-caused injuries are fully compensated. A compensation bill is under consideration by the state legislature.

“The state Endangered Species Act prohibits the killing of listed species with very limited exceptions,” points out Jennifer Schwartz of Hells Canyon Preservation Council, “If ODFW is going to lawfully operate within that narrow window of exceptions, it must be able to show that lethally removing wolves in response to conflicts with livestock is somehow necessary to further their conservation in Oregon. With so few wolves in the state, we are very much unconvinced that we need to kill more wolves in order to promote their recovery.”

After a strong start last year, wolf tourism is just starting to take off this season, with eco-tours scheduled for this summer and private operators planning for 2012. Tourists are planning trips specifically to be in wolf country and Wallowa County will benefit. Obviously the slaughter of the county’s most famous and accessible pack will bring this to a halt, and may well give the county a bad odor to those planning a visit to view wildlife.

Oregon Wild, in a statement on Monday, listed these four ODFW shortcomings:

Violating the wolf plan by baiting members of the Imnaha Pack back to the site of reported depredations leading to more losses that may in turn be used to justify lethal control.

Failure to adequately document and publicly share information on claimed non-lethal preventative measures.

Issuing 24 landowner kill permits without adequately documenting and publicly sharing information demonstrating those permits were issued in compliance with the wolf plan.

Treating every conflict between wolves and the livestock industry as a crisis by devoting nearly all of the agency’s wolf-related time and resources on a small fraction of the duties prescribed by the plan at the expense of research, education, and conservation.

A note on incremental lethal removal:

The management policy being applied this spring by ODFW is called incremental removal and is used when stock predation becomes chronic. It should only be employed after all non-lethal tools have been used. It’s intended to spare the pack while removing the depredating wolves. In the case of the Imnaha pack, it may be a valid policy, but it’s not clear that all the stockmen suffering losses have in fact used all the non-lethal methods, especially removing dead calves from pastures. Dead animals left lying around draw predators, and scavenged carcasses can be presented as wolf kills.

The ODFW is following a protocol designed to save the Imnaha pack, but the pack may also be drawn to prey on cattle by carcasses left on the range.

Please contact the following to express your respectful opinion about lethal removal of the Imnaha pack.

Governor John Kitzhaber: gov.kitzhaber@state.or.us – 503-378-4582.

CC the following:

ODFW Director Roy Elicker: roy.elicker@state.or.us – 503-947-6044.

ODFW Commissioners: odfw.commission@state.or.us (Individual Commissioners here).

Please adapt your letter as a Letter to the Editor (300 word max) and send to

The Oregonian: letters@oregonian.com and post to http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/

The Chieftain: editor@wallowa.com

The La Grande Observer: tkramer@lagrandeobserver.com

The Baker City Herald: kborgen@bakercityherald.com

Thank you all,

NE Oregon Ecosystems

Imnaha Alpha male (father) August 2009

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Photos : Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Oregon wolves

Tags:  ODFW, Imnaha Pack, Justice for wolves, Wallowa Country Oregon,  Pro-active animal husbandry, non-lethal tools, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Livestock Owners Pro-Active in KENYA!!

“7 lions spotted along the road in the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya.”

Big cats are losing ground in Africa. Lion numbers have plummeted to just 25,000 animals in the wild,  from a high of 450,000 lions thirty years ago. Poaching, habitat loss and conflicts with humans have decimated not only lions but the entire range of big cats.

Lions  in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, in south-western Kenya, are in conflict with livestock owners. When lions kill cattle the pastoralists have retaliated by killing lions,  resulting in more downward pressure on the already beleaguered  lion population.

Human encroachment around the reserve has contributed to huge losses of hoofed animals the big cats prey on. Hence the cats may turn to cattle.

“A study funded by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and conducted by ILRI between 1989 and 2003 monitored hoofed species in the Maasai Mara on a monthly basis, and found that that losses were as high as 95 percent for giraffes, 80 percent for warthogs, 76 percent for hartebeest, and 67 percent for impala.

The study blames the loss of animals on increased human settlement in and around the reserve. The article claims, “The study provides the most detailed evidence to date on the declines in the ungulate (hoofed animals) populations in The Mara and how this phenomenon is linked to the rapid expansion of human populations near the boundaries of the reserve.”

But National Geographic has stepped in to help:

Big Cats Initiative Grant
Grantee: Anne Kent Taylor
Project: Construction of predator proof livestock enclosures in prime big cat habitats in Kenya’s Maasai Mara region
Geographical Area Served: Africa\Kenya\Maasai Mara National Reserve
Field Work: 7/14/2010 – 7/11/2011

Project Description:

Big cat populations in East Africa are crashing due to retaliatory killings by pastoralists. In the Maasai Mara, the problem threatens one of Africa’s most famous and important lion populations as pastoralists are increasingly intolerant of livestock predation. This project expands an existing successful project in the Mara that has effectively reduced human/lion conflict by preventing predation through securing livestock enclosures.

Maasai elder building his boma  (photo by Mark Goss)

From Anne Kent Taylor (grantee):

 “For those who are unfamiliar with this project, we fortify existing Maasai livestock enclosures (bomas) with chain-link to prevent predation, which has been 100 percent successful to date.”

There are now about 200 fenced enclosures protecting the Maasai livestock, with more to come. It’s amazing what people can do when they work together. The fencing project has been a giant success with no reports of lions killing even a single cow protected by the enclosures.

Yet in America many  ranchers are reluctant to perform even minimal pro-active animal husbandry. They would rather blame wolves and other predators, calling  Wildlife (Dis)Services demanding wolves be removed, as if somehow they own them. But on the other side of the world, in Kenya, something entirely different is going on. Kenya values its wildlife and is  finding ways to resolve conflicts and reduce poaching. Kenya is setting an example for the world.  Ecotourism and the dollars it brings to Kenya’s economy, is a driving force in that country. Literally, the Kenyans have realized their animals are worth more alive than dead and have adopted strong measures to protect them. Poachers can be shot and killed. They take it that seriously.

I salute National Geographic for their efforts to  save “big cats” and for finding real solutions to help lions in the Maasai Mara.

Please visit “Cause An Uproar”and do whatever you can for these vital apex predators. Can you imagine a world without the “Big Cats”?

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Cause An Uproar

 http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/big-cats/cause-an-uproar/

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Kenya Fencing Project Stops Lion Attacks on Livestock

Continuing her blogging from the field, in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee Anne Kent Taylor reports that to date some two hundred livestock enclosures have been fenced against predators–and thus far there has not been a single report of a protected animal taken by a big cat.

“This is so exciting for me to report, as the lions are now so much safer from revenge killings and the livestock owners are not suffering from their terrible losses to predation, which are financially and emotionally devastating,” she writes.

Read on: http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/10/kenya-fencing-project-stops-lion-attacks.html

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Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All

Edwin Wollert / Wolf Song of Alaska / Education Coordinator

http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolves_human_apathy.htm

 

Photos Big Cats: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Biodiversity

Tags: Maasai Mara National Reserve, poaching, Human big-cat conflicts, National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, Kenya fencing project, Saving the Big Cats, Kenya, pro-active animal husbandry

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