January 4, 2013

Jan 4, 2013: Oregon wolves lives on the line in court today

Imnaha pack pups born in mid-April 2012. Photo by ODFW
The challenge to stop the killing of two members of the Imnaha wolf pack brought against the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in October 2011 goes to court tomorrow, January 4, in Salem. The challenge was brought by Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The lawsuit was prompted by a decision by ODFW to kill the breeding male and a juvenile member of the Imnaha pack because the pack had been depredating on livestock on a regular basis and officials believed the pack had become habituated to cattle as prey. At the time, the pack was composed of four members — the breeding pair, a pup, and a juvenile male. Killing the two males, but sparing the female and pup, would have effectively broken up the pack.

In the fall of 2011, Oregon’s known wolf population was 29 (it is now around 50) and the conservation groups sued to have the lethal control stopped saying that it would be inconsistent with the Oregon Endangered Species Act — violating the 'take' prohibition, specifically. The organizations’ went to the Oregon Court of Appeals with their complaint, and the judge, based on his belief that the conservationists had a good chance of prevailing, put a hold on the lethal action until a court date addressing the challenge was scheduled — January 4, 2013.

As of December 2012 there were 8 members in the Imnaha pack, the breeding pair and six pups. The juvenile male that was scheduled to be killed along with the Alpha male in October 2011, has since dispersed.

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