House bill on wolves not right for Oregon

House Bill 3452 permits the killing of a wolf on “suspicion of harassment or damage.” No evidence is required.

Wolf predation has a minuscule impact on the livestock in Oregon. Out of 1.3 million head of cattle, there is only one cattle death this year. Tens of thousands of livestock die yearly from weather, birthing, injury and disease. Many times more are killed by dogs and other predators than by wolves.

Ranchers can manage livestock in a way that minimizes conflict — burying bones and carcasses, removing the vulnerable, providing birthing sheds, fencing and guard dogs, even fladry and shepherds. And biologically sensitive, unfenced public lands can be removed from livestock use. These nonlethal measures work to greatly reduce predation while allowing wolves to live.

Idaho accelerated opportunistic killing in 2012 and predation increased 75 percent. Yet, in Oregon, where wolves have been protected, ranchers and agencies relied on non-lethal measures and predation decreased significantly. Stable, unexploited packs with experienced hunters teach the young hunting skills, their natural prey, and pack cohesion and territory keeps them away from livestock. Killing these experienced “mentors,” the younger wolves are more likely to disperse and prey on livestock to survive.

Wolves are good for our ecosystem. They limit coyote impact and overpopulation of herbivores destructive to vegetation and streams affecting beaver, elk, fish and waterfowl.

HB 3452 is not right for Oregon. It sets up an extreme and unjustifiable approach to wildlife. Instead we should work on ways to co-exist and share this landscape.

Janet Conklin

Portland