A pair of Eastern Oregon wolves that had been targeted for extermination got a reprieve late today when an Oregon Appeals Court issued an injunction stopping the planned killing until the court has time to review a lawsuit filed by three conservation groups earlier this week that challenges the state's decision to employ lethal measures against Oregon's fledgling wolf population.
The kill order, which was issued Sept. 23 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, was the first of its kind in Oregon since Congress relinquished federal control of wolf management in the Idaho, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and Wyoming earlier this year. Such lethal control measures were authorized as part of the state's 2010 update of its wolf management plan. Conservation groups, however, have said the killings are a violation of Oregon's Endangered Species Act and should be a last-resort after non-lethal control measures are exhausted.
Conservationists said the aborted kill, which would have removed the alpha male and another wolf from the pack, would have effectively wiped out the Imnaha pack, Oregon's first since documented pack since wolves were deliberately extirpated here more than half a century ago.
it's not clear how soon the court is likely to take up the lawsuit.