Defenders’ wolf expert Suzanne Stone served as a guest lecturer last week for Portland State University’s Wildlife Conflict Management Training Workshop in Wallowa County, Oregon. On Tuesday, attendees toured the Zumwalt Prairie, a high-elevation grassland beneath the Wallowa Mountains and one of the primary corridors used by wolves in Oregon.
Suzanne discussed her experience working to restore wolves in the northern Rockies and more recently, working with ranchers and wolf managers to implement nonlethal practices to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock. (See Wolf Coexistence Partnership) Other guest speakers included Ed Bangs, former US Fish and Wildlife Service western wolf coordinator; Russ Morgan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf recovery coordinator; and Jim Akenson, executive director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The workshop participants included state, federal and tribal wildlife and environmental agencies.
Then on Wednesday, Suzanne participated on a panel of wolf advocates who discussed wolf management and recovery in Oregon. Though Defenders and our conservation colleagues don’t always agree on tactics, we adamantly agree on the overall goal of ensuring that Oregon remains a place where wolves can thrive for years to come. We continue working both together and independently to make sure the state has the resources and plans in place to promote the full recovery of wolves over the long run.
And finally on Thursday Suzanne met with ranchers, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf managers, and the Zumwalt prairie ranch manager for the Nature Conservancy to discuss ways to further reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock in northeastern Oregon. Tensions have been running even higher this fall since a few area ranchers continue to suffer occasional livestock losses due to wolves. But some are implementing nonlethal deterrents and better husbandry practices instead of just fighting to try to have the wolves killed. This kind of collaboration is key to the long term survival of wolves in Oregon and has been successful in reducing losses of both livestock and wolves.
Here are some photos from Suzanne’s trip (all photos courtesy of Suzanne Stone/Defenders of Wildlife):