ASHLAND, Ore. — A local environmental group has come up with a novel solution to ongoing depredation by wolves of Southern Oregon's "Rogue Pack" — crowd-funding enough money to build a very tall fence.
"We are raising $6,000 to complete the funding required to build a tall fence, which was determined by state and federal wildlife officials to be the best way to keep the wolves away from cattle and return to hunting wild game instead," says the Ashland-based Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild).
The group indicates that they've been collaborating with a local rancher and the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife on the solution. That local rancher is most likely Ted Birdseye, who has borne the brunt of the Rogue Pack's kills over the past year or two. Birdseye runs the Mil-Mar Ranch up in Prospect.
"They have been caught killing livestock adjacent to where they are denning and it is feared that this will become a learned behavior for the pack, putting them in danger," KS Wild says.
For his part, Birdseye has demonstrated profound patience in trying to find ways to deter the wolves without killing them — raising guard dogs, wire fencing, red flags, and a big inflatable "dancing man" in an attempt to keep the wolves out — but to no avail. He says he's lost almost 10 of his animals, both calves and dogs.
Enter: The fence.
KS Wild says that it has already raised 90 percent of the funds needed to build the fence, but needs a little help to get across the finish line. Their GoFundMe campaign, launched on June 10, aims to raise $6,000. As of Friday afternoon, the group had raised $1,625 toward that goal.
"This pack is the source of many of the wolves that are just now recovering on the west coast. We need this pack to be successful, and that means we need the local ranchers and wolves to co-exist," KS Wild says.