Restoring Gray Wolves in Oregon
Oregon currently has at least 112 wolves in 11 packs, with 8 breeding pairs. Against the wishes of WELC and numerous other conservation organizations, in 2015, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission delisted the gray wolf from state Endangered Species Act protection. Despite this delisting effort, wolves remain listed under the federal Endangered Species Act throughout a majority of Oregon.
Wolves west of Highway 395 in eastern Oregon (which runs through Burns north through John Day and then up to Pendleton and into Washington) are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead management agency for those wolves. In contrast, wolves in Oregon east of Highway 395 are considered to be part of the Northern Rockies Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and are federally delisted. The Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and associated technical rules guide all ODFW wolf-related activities.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced plans to remove federal protections for gray wolves, however that plan has stalled, and its finalization is uncertain. It is possible that this decision will delist the gray wolf throughout the contiguous 48 states and remove federal protections from all wolves in Oregon. WELC has been actively working with our conservation group allies to keep federal Endangered Species Act protections in place for gray wolves across the country until the gray wolf has recovered. Visit the Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife website for wolf program updates.