The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday began the process of removing gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list.
The Commission asked Fish and Wildlife staff to develop two proposals - one that would delist the wolf statewide and another that would allow for a partial delisting that would maintain protections for wolves in the western part of the state.
Wildlife biologists say there are now 77 wolves in Oregon and certain key conservation goals have been met.
Todd Nash of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association says ultimately, a decision to delist could help shield ranchers from legal challenges related to wolf control.
“There’s lots of loopholes in lots of places where the environmental community can slap lawsuits.”
Conservation groups say the Oregon wolf population isn’t actually recovered.