Protecting Cattle From Wolves Becomes A Community Effort In Southern Oregon


by Jes Burns, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)

July 3, 2019


A conservation group in Southern Oregon has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help build a tall fence around a local ranch. Eight cows and two dogs at Jackson County’s Mill-Mar Ranch have been killed by the Rogue Wolf Pack.


“The federal guys and the state guys and the Wildlife Services, everybody has done everything in their power to help alleviate this situation,” said ranch owner Ted Birdseye.


Birdseye said once he and his crew started figuring all the time they were spending trying to protect his property, “I think they finally just go, ‘we need to put up a permanent fence around this place to keep those wolves out.’”


But building a 3-mile long, 6-foot high electric fence is not cheap – the estimate comes in at around $45,000. The fence will mostly be paid for by state and federal wolf funds, but the conservation group K-S Wild has stepped in to raise the final $6,000. They say the money will help make the case that ranches and wolves can co-exist.


“This isn’t the type of thing that you can do at every ranch, but it’s an important thing to do at this ranch because it’s so close to the Rogue Pack, a very important pack for wolf recovery in Western Oregon,” said Joseph Vaile, executive director of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, the group behind the GoFundMe campaign.


Gray wolves in Western Oregon are currently protected under endangered species law, and thus it’s illegal to kill them. The Trump administration has recently announced its intention to delist the gray wolf. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has supported the federal delisting, although Gov. Kate Brown has said she doesn’t support the move nationally. Oregon removed wolves from its endangered species list in 2015. 


The Rogue Pack is well known in the region, in part because of its famous founding wolf OR-7. The wolf wandered 1,000 miles from the Imnaha pack in northeast Oregon to the southwest part of the state and Northern California. In 2014, the Rogue Pack was the first pack to form and settle in western Oregon in more than a half century. In the past couple years, the pack has started killing livestock.


“Far and away the majority of damage in Western Oregon has occurred at this on particular property,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Steve Niemela.


Part of the reason, is...


more, including only known photograph of the wandering wolf, OR-7