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Wildlife conservationists say the move would allow for trophy hunting and trapping.
Two wolves from the newly discovered Middle Fork Pack on U.S. Forest Service land in the Imnaha WMU in Wallowa County in December 2017. Photo by ODFW.
By Elise Herron
On March 6, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under newly appointed Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, announced plans to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list.
Now wildlife conservationists in Portland are protesting, saying the move would allow for trophy hunting and trapping of the animals. At last count, there were 137 known gray wolves in Oregon.
On Monday, May 6, five groups—the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, Cascadia Wildlands, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife—plan to rally outside of the Portland USFWS office.
The organizations will be joined by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) who will give an address at the start of the rally.
“The plan to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species list is deeply concerning,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “These iconic creatures are integral to ecosystems across the country and many regions are beginning a fragile recovery. This proposal would threaten that possibility.”
Oregon’s wolf plan has long been a point of conflict between conservationists and ranchers. The most recent battle lines were drawn over Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to nominate a big game hunter to the board that oversees the state’s wolf plan—which prompted the non-profit Oregon Wild to raise funds for attack ads against the governor.
Related: Wildlife Conservationists Plan Attack Ads Against Gov. Kate Brown After Appointment of Big Game Hunter to Wolf Management Board
Monday’s event is an attempt to persuade Portlanders to rebuke Bernhardt’s ruling with written testimonies to the USFWS.
“The Trump administration released its proposal in March but has refused to schedule any hearings to accept public comment on the topic,” the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. “Instead, conservation groups have organized their own hearings in Portland, Sacramento, Calif. and Denver, Colo.”
Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, adds, “It’s heartless and utterly shortsighted to pull the plug on wolf recovery and let these amazing animals again be hunted and trapped. This is the moment to speak out.”