Farm Bureau hears wolf update

 

In their meeting at the Black Bear Restaurant on January 20, members were introduced to Jenny Dresler, governmental affairs associate of the Oregon Farm Bureau. Dresler is a native of Portland, but took a round-about path leading to her eventual hiring at the OFB two months ago. She will be involved in legislative work and keeping members appraised of bills that will affect them. Currently, there are at least seven bills that could change the minimum wage in Oregon by several dollars. They range in rates from $12 to $15. Readers will remember that Seattle changed their minimum to $15 per hour.

The wolf management plan will also be center stage during this legislative session. Dresler said that the economic forecast is on the upswing.

Also speaking at the meeting was Mark Vargas of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Vargas said the most controversial issue right now is the introduction of wolves into the southern Cascades. ODFW knows of one established pack, that of the infamous OR7, who has found a mate, now has pups. While ODFW believes the pair had three pups, the actual number is not known. Residents of the area have told the Independent that they have been spotted and the actual number may be closer to five pups. Reports of other packs have surfaced, and ODFW has recognized that another wolf has set up shop near Keno on the eastern slope of the Cascades.

Vargas said that only the alpha male and female of the pack will breed, and they will have between two and five pups, usually, but not always, every year. So, theoretically, the pack will never grow by more than five animals per year, at least in most cases. Counting losses due to old age or injury, pack numbers will not grow by very many animals.

Vargas also told about the management plans that are (?) jointly managed by U. S. Fish and Wildlife and by ODFW. Those two agencies have different approaches to the wolf situation and have different goals and even different boundary lines in determining western wolves from the Eastern Oregon packs. The management plan calls for periodic reviews to determine pack strength and numbers, is reviewed in 2005, 2010, and again this year.

As Vargas was making his presentation, he said that “wolves are not compatible with humans.” The difficulties lie with the interaction of the two species. It was this difficulty that lead to wolves being hunted out of the western states. As the number of wolves has grown in Idaho, for instance, they have become so prevalent that the state had difficulty controlling both the number and the depredation they were committing. Idaho established a hunting season, much as British Columbia did some years ago.

The most chilling statement made during Vargas’ presentation was that U. S. Fish and Wildlife wants the wolves and they control the cards in this game. So he basically told the farm bureau that they had better get used to the animals because the feds want them here.

For more information on the wolf issue, visit www.wolfed.org or read the book The Real Wolf by Ted B. Lyon.

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