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Congressman Calls Oregon’s Support of Removing Gray Wolf From Endangered Species Act a “Death Sentence”

“Will the wolves recover in Oregon?” Rep. Earl Blumenauer wrote in a letter to the governor. “If they do, it’ll be despite your best efforts.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) today sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission condemning support from the state's top wildlife official for removing the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list.

Related: Oregon On Board With Federal Plan to Remove Gray Wolf From Endangered Species List

On May 9, Curtis Melcher, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service saying the agency was on board with feds' plans to delist the gray wolf.

That letter quickly drew outrage from conservation groups, who say the Oregon wolf plan alone does not adequately or sufficiently protect the species.

Blumenauer, who last week spoke at a rally against stripping the wolves of protections, was quick to chime in.

Today, in a letter to Melcher and Brown, Blumenauer wrote that he was "shocked and appalled at ODFW's recent abdication of its mission to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife use for enjoyment by present and future generations."

He challenged a claim made by ODFW that the species' populations have recovered to a stable number in Oregon.

"Today, gray wolves are at just 1% of their former population numbers and occupy less than 10% of their former range," he wrote.

Blumenauer says the "fragile recovery" of the gray wolf is endangered by the proposed delisting. He says a weakened state wolf plan without a backstop of federal protection is a "true death sentence for gray wolves in Oregon and across the country." He accuses Brown and ODFW of "[throwing] an incredibly important predator species under the bus in favor of a few private interests."

"Will the wolves recover in Oregon?" he wrote. "If they do, it'll be despite your best efforts."

A spokesperson for Brown did not immediately respond to WW's request for comment.