Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Living with Wolves: Join the discussion

Ecotrope | Nov. 17, 2010 11:32 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:44 p.m.

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Oregon Field Guide is featuring the ongoing controversy over managing wolves in Oregon this week. The show features the perspectives of ranchers, wildlife managers, conservation groups and wolf tourists, as well as some great footage of wolves in action.

I’ve been following the news on wolves since August, when a federal judge ruled they should be re-listed under the Endangered Species Act. The re-listing meant federal rules that prohibit shooting wolves kicked back in, and age-old fights over how to manage them flared up.

On one hand, wolves are voracious predators who eat the deer, elk, sheep and calves that people prize. On the other hand, they play an important role in the ecosystem, shaping the health and behavior of their prey and, by extension, the entire landscape.

Oregon Field Guide steps back and explains how anti-wolf policies had nearly wiped out the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf by the 1940s, how wolves from Canada were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s, and how they’ve been flourishing ever since.

A population believed to be nearly 1,700 strong has spread out through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and eastern Oregon. Oregon’s documented population (now around 20 wolves in two packs) has been growing since 2007, as have clashes between wolves, sheep, calves, ranchers and environmentalists.

Where do you stand on wolves in Oregon? Have you seen or heard wolves in the wild? What should be done with problem wolves? Are wolves good for Oregon? Are they bad?

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