My response to the plan:
There will not be an ongoing supply of wolves from Idaho and therefore the genetic diversity and fitness of the Oregon wolves will be reduced. Occasionally a wolf will enter Oregon from Idaho, but it is not ongoing, but rather a chance crossing, probably over a bridge at a dam or possibly occasionally crossing the Snake River.
Infringement on the genetic rights of the wolf. This plan does nothing for the subspecies of the wolf. In fact, this management plan infringes on the rights of the individual wolves. The plan is not for the wolf, but rather for the managers involved; managers want to prove they can develop and write up a plan. Well they did, but did they ever stop to think this plan—no matter how well written it is and how much time and effort is put into it—should not actually be implemented? I read most of the management plan and I thought as I was reading it this is very similar to a plan an undergraduate would propose but would not actually be implemented.
There are sufficient numbers of this subspecies of the gray wolf in Canada, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone NP, and other locations they do not need to be in Oregon. The state boundaries are artificial; therefore, only the subspecies needs to be considered. And they should not be in Oregon for other reasons—genetic, economic.
Of great concern is inbreeding. The new packs’ alpha male and female will be siblings. Lone males from other locations such as Idaho or Yellowstone NP will need to be introduced to outbreed (or at least reduce the probability that inbreeding occurs). The effects of inbreeding in wolves are probably not well understood; does inbreeding result in increased aggression, abnormal behavior, anatomical and physiological changes? Each management area should have at least 2 breeding pairs before the next generation of alpha males and females (each of the 4 individuals from a different location, but similar environment).
As wolves in these states continue to increase in numbers and expand their range, wolf biologists predict they will disperse into Oregon from Idaho and establish breeding populations.
…wilderness areas are relatively small when compared with Idaho…
…permit establishment of a naturally reproducing wolf population in suitable habitat within Oregon, connected to a larger source population of wolves…
…allow wolves to establish packs in Oregon through dispersal from adjacent states and not through active reintroductions involving transport of wolves from outside the state.
One of the four major challenges to wolf conservation: population isolation.
Continued wolf movement into Oregon from adjacent states is likely given the current population of wolves in the state of Idaho (an estimated 835 wolves in 65 reproductive packs at the end of 2009 USFWS. 2009 Annual Report). The wolf population in Oregon will grow as wolves from other states enter Oregon through natural dispersal. The natural dispersal method, adopted by the Commission as a guiding principle,17 differs from wolf restoration efforts in the Rocky Mountain Recovery Area where wolves were captured elsewhere and released into secure and remote areas with abundant prey, no livestock and few humans (USFWS 1994).
The natural dispersal method provides an ongoing connection to a larger source population in Idaho. The Idaho population is expected to continue to supply new dispersing wolves to Oregon, which will diversify the gene pool and fill in home ranges…
Oregon, on the other hand, was not selected as a recovery state primarily due to lack of large blocks of contiguous public land habitat.
The large source population of wolves in Idaho will provide a continuing source of dispersing wolves in Oregon. Eventually, the two populations could function as one large population, with the Oregon segment representing a wolf range expansion in North America. Oregon’s close proximity to a population that numbers more than 840 wolves provides certainty that dispersing wolves will continue to enter Oregon at an unknown rate.
The combination of high genetic variation among colonizers and ongoing natural dispersal to and from Canadian populations was adequate to ensure long-term population viability, provided that genetic exchange continued.