Letters and comments for September 23, 2011

By Observer Upload September 23, 2011 08:54 pm
Letters and comments for September 23, 2011

Pack’s numbers decline

To the Editor:

In the recent article on the Association of Oregon Counties District 1 fall meeting, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association member Rod Childers numbers the Imnaha wolf pack at 12. The ODFW, however, counts just two adults (both collared), one yearling and one pup. I mention this not to be argumentative, but because it’s important to know that the pack has naturally decreased by more than two-thirds since last year.

The ODFW killed three Imnaha pack wolves this year, and four collared wolves have dispersed, two out of state. The remaining wolves are very closely monitored by GPS collars, personal observation and trailcams. In the past months only five have been observed, and one of those

has moved to Baker County. It is a reasonable guess that the remaining six have also dispersed.

The Oregon Wolf Plan takes into consideration the dynamics of wolf behavior, something livestock operators seldom consider in their campaign to use lethal controls as the primary tool to limit wolf/

livestock conflict. In this case, with a minimum of lethal control, a pack has gone from 16 to four in less than a year. Even if there are one or two more pups than have been confirmed, the pack now falls within the normal wolf pack average of 6-8.

Last year Wallowa County had eight confirmed and one probable wolf depredations, this year five confirmed and two probable. Last year maybe a mile of fladry was deployed; this year 9-10 miles, and not a single loss occurred within fladry-protected areas. All the fladry, range riders, RAG boxes, hazers and ODFW technicians have been paid for by government or conservationists. A funded compensation plan is now law. All this shows how well Oregon wolf management can work.

For those interested, read the wolf depredation reports at the ODFW website.

Wally Sykes




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