A year-and-a-half old male wolf from the White River pack on Mt. Hood was found dead. There were no poisons or lead present in the wolf, but his paw was injured. He had been fitted with a radio collar, and it’s possible the wolf was injured during the capture process. He was very thin.
The population of wolves in western Oregon are still protected. Those east of Highway 395 are not. This is still a fragile group, and the Oregon wolf conservation plan is missing protections, as has been previously covered in the blog. A decision is expected in March, minus environmental groups that left in protest. Let’s hope the wolf pups born to this group fare better.
Photo by Russell McNeil, Creative Commons
Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/russellmcneil/
March 30, 2019
By Shannon Perry
Some of us feel we’re in the movie Groundhog Day. We keep waking up to the same hellish morning with the current administration pulling a new stunt more horrific than the last.
In contrast, Defenders of Wildlife has declared this the year of coexistence. Each month a different animal is highlighted. Imagine if this were the principal guiding federal policy.
I know I’ve missed a couple months, but those of us in the Gorge were hibernating. Spring is here, and I return to my blog!
Quick update if you haven’t seen that new wolves have been spotted around Crater Lake. They’re calling them Indigo Wolves which I find rather poetic. Their tough stubbornness to survive despite bad odds and policy moves me greatly.
and other sister organizations walked away from ODFW’s proposed wolf conservation
plan, rather than sign off on recommendations that rejected every suggestion
from environmental groups and scientists. Despite working with a professional
facilitator, negotiations were unsuccessful.
Some objectionable aspects include allowing trophy hunting for pelts and trapping. ODFW is seen as shifting more money and power to their agency with less oversight. Barring changes in the plan, conservation groups will be looking for other means to support Oregon’s small wolf population. For more information and action steps please see the link below.
Some research indicates that cougar overhunting may lead to problem interactions with humans. These issues arise when mature male cougars are removed from their territory. These cats have survived to adulthood because they didn’t attack livestock, etc, Their deaths leave room for younger males to move into these areas and it is generally the younger cougars who tend to be problematic. Rob Wielgus has studied cougar populations in the Northwest. While not everyone agrees with him, other studies have supported his findings and theories.
It’s also very hard to estimate cougar populations accurately. Oregon is one of the few states that counts kittens in the total population. This is relevant because hunting quotas are based on these estimates. By overhunting, the social balances get out of kilter and tragedies such as the death of the hiker on Mt. Hood are more likely to occur.For more information, see this OPB article.
If you’re like me, you try your best to prevent that very disturbing sound of a bird hitting one of your windows. I want to give a shout out to Tracie Hornung for spotting this simple solution that really reduces the number of strikes. It uses cords hung outside your windows at about 4 inches apart. The website includes ordering or directions for how to make your own. At the clinic, we use netting which seems pretty effective for those who might want to try it.
Fall brings hunters again to the forests and fields of Oregon. Some folks follow best practices and do what’s right; others don’t respect boundaries or calendars. We recently had some illegal activity near the RWC. If you are wondering what to do if you see what seems like illegal hunting, here are some resources for you. Oregon has a tip line and actually offers rewards for turning in poachers.
A woman hiking on Mt. Hood was killed by a cougar on the Hunchback Ridge Trail. Her death by cougar attack is the first confirmed in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have killed a cougar that may have precipitated the attack. It’s problematic because cougars’ ranges are large and overlapping. The cougar’s DNA is being tested to see if it’s a match. It’s a sad situation all around. The ODFW says they will not kill cougars “willy nilly”.
While the public is understandably saddened by this woman’s death, it is easy to jump to conclusions about the actual danger we face from cougars. They are afraid of people and are quite elusive, the most of all the big cats. See the link below on the 10 animals most likely to kill humans.
Maybe you’ve seen the glue traps that are marketed as “humane” traps for mice. Well, inside or out they are a hazard for bats. One of our patients got caught in one and was brought to us. You can’t quite imagine the process it takes to get one free. Most don’t survive the ordeal of getting caught.
Pets and other animals can be caught in the traps. The reason they aren’t safe inside is because bats are quite capable of getting in too, through very small spaces, and they’re often attracted to the insects that get caught in the traps.
At the clinic, we use live traps for mice that work quite well. Then we walk away a bit from the clinic and free them. Maybe the mice will feed an owl, a hawk, or an eagle.
The Endangered Species Act has been a powerful and effective tool in protecting fragile species. The act is itself in danger from the Trump Administration. Although predictions are that we will lose 10% of all terrestrial species by 2050, the administration proposes “reforms” that would allow economic issues to be considered in classification of species.
There are other proposed cuts as well. Make your voice heard, write your representatives, and please vote in November.
For more information, please check out the linked article.