Wolves have been a hot topic for many ranchers in Eastern Oregon for the past year. Just last spring, a Baker County rancher's calves were killed by wolves. A symposium is being held this Saturday in La Grande to address the issue.
As reported by The Baker City Herald, the symposium's objective is to assess what can be expected from the expansion of the wolf population. The symposium is free to the public and is scheduled from 1p.m. to 4p.m. at Badgley Hall at Eastern Oregon University.
In 2009, The Oregonian reported that federal hunters had been dispatched to hunt down wolves that had killed more than two dozen head of livestock on Eastern Oregon ranches. This, in addition to wolf hunts in both Idaho and Montana, had sparked a considerable amount of controversy among conservation, ranching, and farming groups.
Although efforts by the state to use nonlethal tactics to deter the wolves were initially successful, new attacks in August of 2009 led to the state issuing permits to kill the wolves. Conservation groups opposed this decision. The Oregon Cattleman Association, however, applauded this action.
The keynote speaker at the symposium will be Jim Beers, who is the former chief of national wildlife refuge operations for the U.S. fish and Wildlife services. He has also written and spoken about the federal wolf program and how it affects rural areas such as Eastern Oregon. Casey Anderson, an Idaho rancher, will address wolf interaction with livestock.