The journey of the gray wolf known as “OR-7” from his home in Wallowa County, Oregon to south of the California border has become a minor modern wildlife epic. It is fascinating to witness the migration of a wild animal through Oregon’s wide-open spaces, tracked by wildlife biologists.
While OR-7’s travels have appeal as a classic Western tale of the wilderness and its perils, it is important to remember that wolves are, in fact, wild. Reintroducing wolves into rural Oregon affects the people and the livestock living there, particularly ranchers who suffer the intimidation, injury, and death of their animals. Wolves exact real costs on ranchers who lose livestock and contend with changes in animal behavior spurred by harassment from a natural predator.
The Oregonian reports that Idaho’s wolf population grew from 35 in 1996 to about 800 in ten years and that Oregon currently has 28 wolves. As Oregon’s wolf population grows, Oregon’s legislature and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission need to listen to the experiences of rural Oregonians living in proximity to freely roaming predators. Ranchers need to be legally empowered to reasonably defend themselves, their families, and their animals.
OR-7’s exploration of the wilds of Oregon may be a true-life adventure for those who watch Internet videos of him from hundreds of miles away. But for rural Oregonians watching wolves cross onto their property near their cattle, the tale of the wild wolf is not so romantic.
Note: On Wednesday the Oregon Legislature was scheduled to vote on House Bill 4005. If passed and signed by the governor, the law would allow ranchers who lose livestock to wolf depredation to receive some compensation in the form of a tax credit.
This week John Charles is in Honolulu, HI where he will be speaking at two conferences related to a proposal there for a new light rail line. John will be explaining why so-called ‘transit-oriented development’ doesn’t work the way planners think it does.
Tuesday morning, John was interviewed by local TV station KHON-2 News where he spoke about the pros and cons of fixed rail transit versus “rubber tire” bus service and the benefits of one over the other for Hawaii and most locations around the world.
Click here to view the full 3-minute interview.