Wildlife commissioners nix Oregon wolves’ endangered species status

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Nov. 9 to remove gray wolves from the state’s list of endangered species.

Wildlife biologists had determined that the state’s known gray wolf population of 81 had recovered enough to meet standards for de-listing.

Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack sip and sit at a pool of water July 7, 2013. The pups were about 2.5 months old in this remote camera photo. (Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack sip and sit at a pool of water July 7, 2013. The pups were about 2.5 months old in this remote camera photo. (Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Conservation groups disagree, and not surprisingly at least one group — the Center for Biological Diversity, which has staff in Portland — plans to challenge the commission’s decision in court.

It’s a classic example of how biologists at management agencies who are tasked with balancing the interests of wildlife populations, science, ranchers, hunters and other interested members of the public sometimes are at odds with biologists focused on conservation and preservation of species.

It’ll be interesting to see how forthcoming court challenges develop and how Oregon’s wolves fare in the long run.

In the meantime, I asked Twitter followers in an unscientific poll whether they thought Oregon’s wolves should or should not be de-listed. (Well, actually, I posed it three times because the poll feature’s new, and I didn’t think it worked at first.)

Here are the results:

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The results are unscientific because of the small sample size/lack of statistical power; the fact it’s a voluntary poll (voluntary surveys and polls tend to be skewed because your sample is not truly randomized); I can’t know who voted, their demographics and whether they voted multiple times; and my followers are not a truly random group of people — they tend to skew toward scientists, science supporters, journalists and space enthusiasts, and they tend to be from the western U.S. and the U.K., male, and high school or college graduates.

However, the poll results are offered here as food for thought. What do you think of this decision by the Oregon commission? Do you think the state’s gray wolves should be de-listed, or do you think it’s too soon? Leave a comment here, or share your thoughts with me on social media.

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2 Responses to Wildlife commissioners nix Oregon wolves’ endangered species status

  1. Pingback: Delisting of Oregon’s gray wolves faces legal challenge by conservation groups | Science In Portland

  2. Pingback: Oregon’s wolf plan up for review at August meeting | Science In Portland

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