UPDATE: Natalynne DeLapp of the Environmental Protection Information Center confirmed that as of this afternoon, June 4, 2014, wolves are officially an endangered species in California. Three of four California Fish and Wildlife commissioners approved the listing.
“It’s a good day for wolves in California and beyond,” Delapp said.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: The California Department of Fish and Game Commission is coming to Fortuna on Wednesday June 4th and they want to hear from you. Urge the Commissioners to allow gray wolves to recover in California. Listing the wolf under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) is the only way to assure their full protection.
The gray wolf, which once lived throughout the state, is part of California’s culture and heritage. For the past four years, a young male wolf, OR-7 (also known as Journey) has been roaming in and out of the north state. There is no doubt that if wolves are protected they will return to California.
Everything we know points to listing: science, policy, legal listing standard, and past precedent.
Dr. Cristina Eisenberg, a leading wolf ecologist and one of the peer reviewers for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s wolf evaluation report, states that the gray wolf should be listed under CESA. She bases her opinions on these facts: OR-7 has continued to visit the state, California has a precedent for extending CESA protections for species that have no known population occurring in the state; and current science indicates over-exploitation could jeopardize the gray wolf in California.
The California State Legislature provided the listing standard for the California Endangered Species Act, as a species is endangered if it “is in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The range of the gray wolf clearly includes parts of California historically and at present.
In a memo to the Commission, the Director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Charles Bonham, said that the Department could not do a typical evaluation under CESA because there has not been a continuous presence or a breeding population established. However, this is not a requirement of CESA.
The Guadalupe fur seal was at one time thought to be extinct until a breeding population was discovered on Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Two years later, the seal was listed under CESA after sporadic sightings of a few individuals in California. The Guadalupe fur seal is not delisted from CESA when the population migrates between California and Mexico. OR-7, like the Guadalupe fur seal, has been an intermittent resident of California.
There was no confirmed wolverine in California for fifty years at the time when it was listed under CESA, and it was another forty years before another wolverine was seen in the state. The California condor was not delisted during the five years when it was scientifically known that there were no condors in the wild.
The Guadalupe fur seal, California condor, and wolverine were all listed even though they
were absent from the state, did not have a continuous presence, or an established breeding population because their “continued existence was in serious danger or threatened” due to overexploitation by natural or human caused activities.
There are serious potential threats to the existence of gray wolves in California. Tthe Department has taken action to protect OR-7 on multiple occasions. In 2012 and 2013, the Department was sufficiently concerned for the safety of OR-7 because of a Coyote Drive (a killing contest) that was occurring in northeast California near where he was present. The Department believed he, or any other wolf in the area, might be mistaken for a coyote and accidentally shot or intentionally killed. The Department has valid concerns. In February 2014, a coyote hunter shot the first documented wolf in Iowa in eighty-nine years.
The Department, Commission, public and wolves all benefit from listing now, rather than later.
California is a leader in acknowledging the best available science when it comes to wildlife, and the current science is informing us of the essential role of apex predators in the web of life. Apex predators the world over are in sharp decline due to over exploitation and other human activities. Measures for conservation and recovery are urgently needed.
The Commission decide whether or not to grant wolves state protections at a special meeting in July.
Wolves Need Room To Roam
California has extensive areas of suitable habitat for wolves. In particular, large wilderness areas such as the Marble Mountains, Trinity Alps and backcountry areas around Lassen and Mt. Shasta have high potential to support wolves. Once re-established in northern California, wolves could feasibly repopulate the Sierra Nevadas.
Wolves need room to roam. Please join EPIC in calling on our representatives and leaders in wildlife, water and forest management to establish a well-connected network of wildlife corridors. Establishing wildlife corridors and linkages that provide vital habitat connectivity is key to species survival and should be a priority. We must protect roadless areas, rivers and ridges that link habitat between wilderness and other core areas.
California will soon be welcoming wolves. We can and we must act now to protect and connect wild places. Please sign the petition, tell your entrusted leaders to Protect and Connect Wild Places now.
Join the Wolf Pack!
Wolf Night Pre-Hearing Teach-In
Monday June 2, 6-8 p.m.
Arcata Community Center
321 Community Park Way, Arcata
Meet fellow wolf lovers, hear speakers,
screen films, and make signs. Kid friendly.
Sponsored by EPIC, Bird Ally X, Center for Biological Diversity and the NEC.
Fish and Game Commission Hearing
Wednesday June 4, 8:00 a.m.
Fortuna River Lodge
1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna
Come early for pre-hearing wolf rally.
Bring signs and wear gray to show your support for wolves!
For more info visit www.wildcalifornia.org