The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act went into effect Monday, officially transferring Gray wolf protections from the federal government to state governments.
That means instead of following ESA rules when dealing with wolves, Klamath County residents will have to familiarize themselves with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s management plan. Wolf management in the state had been split geographically in 2011, after Fish and Wildlife delisted the species east of Highways 395, 78 and 95.
Now, the state will also manage the area west of those highways, which includes Klamath County and the majority of Lake County. While the new jurisdiction is slightly less stringent than the ESA, it’s nowhere near open season for wolves in Oregon.
“Wolves remain protected throughout the state. Hunting and trapping of wolves remains prohibited statewide,” an ODFW news release read.
ODFW identifies “areas of known wolf activity” where packs have become established — like the Rogue Pack, whose area overlaps with ranches near Fort Klamath. The agency communicates with livestock producers in these areas about wolf conservation and non-lethal protection measures like fencing, protection dogs and alarms. They emphasize these measures in “areas of depredating wolves,” which can encompass all or part of a pack’s AKWA. The Rogue Pack has an ADW, which includes part of Fort Klamath.
When wolves kill livestock in AKWAs, ranchers have a little more recourse under Oregon law than they did under the ESA. Now, they’d be allowed to kill those wolves, but only if they satisfy two requirements. First, they must have used at least one non-lethal measure to protect their livestock from wolves “prior to and on the day of the incident of depredation,” according to the law. Second, they must have removed or neutralized “reasonably accessible unnatural attractants of potential wolf-livestock conflict,” like bones or carcasses, at least seven days prior to the depredation incident.
In ADWs, landowners have the additional requirement of implementing “at least one non-lethal measure identified in the area-specific conflict deterrence plan that is specific to the location, type of livestock operation, time of the year, and/or period of livestock production associated with the depredation.” That measure may, in some cases, be the same as the non-lethal measure used to fulfill the AKWA requirement.