SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT: Wolf Numbers Up In OR, WA As USFWS Prepares To Delist Gray Wolves In Lower 48

wolf in woods

Oregon’s wildlife department recently reported that 137 gray wolves (Canis lupus) were counted in a 2018 winter wolf survey—a 10 percent increase over the prior year. 

Biologists documented 16 packs and eight smaller groups of wolves.  The number of breeding pairs observed increased by 36 percent. 

Other good news included the movement of wolves further into western Oregon and the dispersal of three radio-collared wolves to California and one to Idaho.

Similarly, Washington’s 2018 survey reflected the continued growth of the state’s wolf population by over three percent. 

Biologists counted 126 wolves in 27 packs, with 15 breeding pairs.  The survey also found the first expansion of a wolf pack to the west side of the Cascade Mountains. 

Importantly, the number of packs increased by over 18 percent.  This upturn sets the stage for an even greater increase in 2019.

The growing wolf populations in Oregon and Washington further demonstrate that the gray wolf population has recovered and is no longer in need of federal protection.  This evidence supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s March 2019 proposal to delist from the U.S. Endangered Species Act all gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

Since 2005, SCI has been at the forefront of the hunting community’s efforts to defend the FWS’s wolf delisting efforts. 

SCI petitioned the FWS to delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and has intervened in a number of suits challenging the FWS’s proposed delisting. 

SCI’s Legal Advocacy team is once again preparing comments in support of the FWS’s current delisting proposal. 

SCI has fought this battle for over a decade, supported by science, which shows that the gray wolf is recovered in the lower 48 states. SCI will continue this fight on behalf of our members and all hunters.

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