The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering restrictions on wildlife killing derbies. Learn more below and take action to help advocate for banning these inhumane, outdated contests in this month’s wolf pack newsletter!
Last month, we mentioned there was a possibility of wolves being seen in Tillamook County, Oregon, which, if confirmed, would have been the furthest west wolves would have been sighted since their return to Oregon. Unfortunately, we heard back from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, and despite the photos looking an awful lot like wolves, they were not. Bummer! But we’re keeping hope alive that wolves will continue expanding their range across Western Oregon.
Speaking of wolves returning to their historic range, there’s been great news out of California about this iconic species returning to Sequoia National Monument for the first time in nearly 100 years! The new pack, known as the Tulare pack, has an adult female in it that has been confirmed to be a direct descendant of OR-7 - Oregon’s famous wolf who was the first to cross into California since they were locally extinct.
This is such welcome news, especially after being plagued with negative wildlife news week after week. Seeing wolves return to their rightful (and native) place on the landscape brings hope and joy to those who wish to see all wildlife thrive.
Coyote killing carnivals are inhumane, unethical, and not scientifically justified. They not only go against fair chase, but also undermine the strong conservation values we hold as Oregonians. Banning them is long overdue, and though the Oregon legislature was unable to get a ban across the finish line, we’re hopeful that next week the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) will take the necessary steps forward.
Earlier this year, wildlife organizations, including Oregon Wild, petitioned the Commission to ban coyote killing contests. Unfortunately, due to a competing state law, ODFW does not believe it can pass an outright ban on killing contests/derbies on private property. Over the last month, ODFW has been working in consultation with their legal counsel to draft proposed rules that they believe fit within their legal authority. Specifically, the administrative rule will outright ban killing contests/derbies on public land for Oregon’s wildlife, including coyotes.
While the proposed rule would place restrictions on these events on private property, advocates will need to ensure the Oregon Department of Agriculture closes any potential loophole and that the Oregon State Police enforce the law to the fullest extent possible should anyone attempt to violate the spirit and intent of the new rule. Passing this rule is an important step forward for updating Oregon’s wildlife “management” practices. However, it’s clear that a lack of legal clarity and authority between agencies still remains a barrier - one the legislature (or ballot measure directly approved by voters) must remedy.
Many countries are starting to adopt ‘rights of nature’ in which wildlife are granted similar legal protections as humans and corporations. Given the negative impacts of biodiversity loss and lack of political leadership to address it, this has become an important strategy to seek protections for the most vulnerable species.
Sea Otter Awareness Week is right around the corner! Check out what our friends at the Elakha Alliance are doing to celebrate this important week as they work hard to bring otters back to Oregon’s coast.
Show your support for stopping wildlife-killing derbies in Oregon by sending a comment to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission by September 13th. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some suggested talking points. As always, please be sure to keep your comments respectful. Thank you for speaking up for Oregon’s wildlife!