HSUS Condemns Oregon’s Cougar and Wolf Decisions

“I think people expected better of Oregon.

Most Oregonians did, that’s for sure. So, the appointed managers entrusted with preserving Oregon’s grand and diverse wildlife heritage need to reconvene and reverse course. Right away.

Or Gov. Kate Brown needs to intervene in defense of our wild animals and to uphold the will of Oregonians.

Today, there are only 90 wolves in the whole state. By any measure, and most of all by the metric of common sense, that is the very definition of endangered. Wolves deserve the protection that Oregon affords animals on the brink.

But the state Fish and Wildlife Commission has decreed otherwise. Turning back the clock a century, the commission has cracked open the door to trophy hunters who want to add another glass-eyed stuffed head to their living room wall. Commissioners voted to eliminate endangered-species protections for our wolves in big swaths of our wildlands.

As they say in the comedy shows, I’m not making this up. Ninety wolves. Go get ’em!

You can make up your own mind whether commissioners lived up to their responsibility. As they themselves put it: to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.

Future generations. Ha! This is a nasty, back-door win for a small number of trophy hunters. A fatal loss for wolves. A thumb in the eye to countless thousands of Oregonians who understand the simple truth: The state’s eco-system has been imbalanced. Nature knows best.

Commissioners, do your job: Protect the 90.

And while you’re at it, you can reverse your equally wrong-headed decision to allow the wholesale slaughter by trophy hunters of all cougars living in target zones located on 6,236 square miles of Oregon’s wildlands.

Commissioners will say that lifting endangered species protection for wolves doesn’t automatically signal a return to trophy hunting. Then why do it? Perhaps in hopes that the people of Oregon will be busy paying attention to other matters as the demise of the wolf plays out step-by-step?

What a cynical, lopsided approach to governance.

Commissioners would like people to believe that 90 wolves are taking too many deer away from 1.7 million licensed hunters. Really — 90 vs. 1,700,000?

Either commissioners don’t understand nature, or don’t want you to. To the extent that wolves prey on deer, they remove the old and the weak. Hunters are gunning for the big and the strong. So which is the better strategy for healthy deer populations?

The truth is simple: Oregon’s native carnivores keep our ecosystems healthy and diverse. Countless eons of history prove it. Oregonians want wildlife to flourish. Wolves and cougars have a far better track record than these few appointed officials doing the bidding of trophy hunters.

Commissioners, please meet again and vote for nature, not against it. For all Oregonians, not just the few with “trophy” rooms.

Governor, please lend your good office to the cause. The people of Oregon deserve better than they got this time.” ~Scott Beckstead

Scott Beckstead of Sutherlin is senior Oregon state director for the Humane Society of the United States. He can be reached at sbeckstead@humanesociety.org.

Originally posted by The Statesman Journal

Photo By Jeremy Weber