In the fall of 2011, OR-7 became the first wild gray wolf to step foot in California since 1924, raising the hope among conservationists that a viable population of wolves will once again inhabit the Golden State.
The ecological importance of wolves has been well documented by science. Wolves play a keystone role in the health of forest and streamside ecosystems, and benefit many other species such as black bears, eagles, and ravens. By rebalancing predator-prey relationships, wolves may even increase the resilience of natural ecosystems to climate change. Wolves present little direct threat to humans and the best evidence indicates that their economic impact through predation is less than that of coyotes, bears, or mountain lions.
California’s wildlife and ecosystems have been suffering without wolves for more than 80 years. Their natural expansion and settlement in California should be accepted and supported.
Wolves are currently protected as endangered in California under the federal Endangered Species Act, but they need more help if they are to regain their rightful place as a top predator in California’s wildlands. They need the additional protections of the California Endangered Species Act.
Ask the California Fish and Game Commission to extend California Endangered Species Act protection to California’s wolves.
We the undersigned believe that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) has an important role to play in the future of California’s wild lands. The successful return of wolves to portions of their historic range in the west has proven their extrinsic value to the health of native wildlife and ecosystem functioning.
The Department of Fish and Game’s own webpage states that wolves present little direct threat to humans and that their economic impact is less than that caused by predators such as coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. Some scientific research suggests that wolves may actually suppress overall predation levels through competitive interactions with these other species.
Wolves should be given a chance to re-occupy their historic range in California and help restore the natural balance of predator-prey relationships in this great state. We urge you to extend protections to wolves through the California Endangered Species Act.