The Primary Threats to The Gray Wolf

By Darlene Nguyen

The issues involving excessive take of wolves began well before Oregon was an established state. Gray wolves were killed in mass amounts to protect the livestock of landowners. During this time, the biggest threat to the species were lethal human interactions, such as hunting. Oregon had established a wolf bounty in 1843 to address this conflict (“Wolves Come Home to Oregon”), which led to the absence of wolves in Oregon for more than fifty years (Columnist). Slowly, wolves were reintroduced back into Oregon due to migrating wolves from Idaho. 

However, it seems as though their main threats remain to be from human interactions. Even during a time where reported wolf sightings were low, there were still reported wolf deaths due to either vehicular death or unlawful shootings. To no surprise, as wolves were reintroduced to Oregon, there were incidents of predation on livestock, and the state solved this problem by killing the wolves. Unfortunately, the interests of the livestock industry are often put above the conservation of wolves because Oregon continues to issue kill permits per request (Columnist). To summarize, the gray wolves’ contemporary threats include traffic, legal and illegal shootings, and state-executed shootings in response to livestock predation.

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