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Federal court ruling returns wolves to Endangered Species List

Department of Fish and Wildlife

On Feb. 10, 2022, a U.S. District court ruling in response to a lawsuit returned wolves west of Hwys 395, 78, and 95 to the federal Endangered Species List.  The lawsuit had been filed by a coalition of groups including Cascadia Wildlands, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, the Western Environmental Law Center and others after wolves in the western two thirds of Oregon and much of the U.S. were delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in early 2021.

Federal rules now supersede Wolf Plan/Oregon Administrative Rules in this area and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (not ODFW) is the lead management agency.  The ruling changes wolf management west of Hwys 395, 78, and 95. Some tools for responding to livestock depredation are no longer available, including the “caught in the act” rule that allowed livestock producers to shoot a wolf caught in the act of biting, wounding, killing (and in some areas chasing) livestock. Also, Wolf Plan rules that allowed ODFW to consider lethal control of wolves when non-lethal measures are failing to stop chronic livestock depredation are also off the table.  

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