The arrival of California's first confirmed wild wolf in nearly 90 years poses an incredible opportunity to recover a native species. But wolves returning to this state face threats to their survival.
Elected officials in counties where OR-7 was traveling have said they think wolves should be shot on sight; and they have asked the state wildlife agency to oppose legal protections for wolves.
Members of the public have also made threats against wolves in response to online news articles, including threats to shoot, shovel and shut up. But with legal protection under the California Endangered Species Act, wolves can and will return to California.
Please help us ensure that these beautiful animals are legally protected in the Golden State by sending an email to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure crucial information about wolves is included in its final report and to urge it to list gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act.
I am writing in support of protection for gray wolves under California's Endangered Species Act (CESA). Wolves are native to California, and evidence exists that they once were distributed widely across the state. Historical accounts from explorers and settlers, and cultural evidence from California's native peoples, establish that wolves once called California home prior to being driven to extinction here.
Wolves dispersing to California face severe threats to their survival and ability to reproduce. In California's northern counties, where wolves are most likely to enter, officials have publically stated that wolves should be shot on sight. In this same region, an annual coyote contest hunt takes place that endangers the lives of any wolves that could be traveling in the area, since wolves often are mistaken for coyotes and have, in other states, been shot by coyote hunters. Commenters writing in response to online news stories about California's only known wolf so far, OR-7, frequently pen hostile rants against wolves including rallying cries of "shoot, shovel and shut up." Lone wolves coming into California also face the threat of the inability to find a mate with whom to reproduce or other wolves with whom to form a pack to better ensure their own survival. CESA's protections would increase the chances for survival of any wolves coming into California, therefore increasing the likelihood that wolves could reestablish populations here.
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Human-caused mortality is the leading cause of death for wolves, and agency actions to kill wolves in response to livestock conflicts is the primary source of all human-caused wolf deaths, even though wolf-livestock conflicts are rare and the percentage of livestock lost to wolves is insignificant when compared to all other sources of livestock losses. Protections for wolves under the state's Endangered Species Act would mean that wolves would have to be managed for their conservation. This could ensure that measures taken to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock would rely on nonlethal, preventative tools and methods instead of killing wolves. In other areas where wolves are returning, when agencies, ranchers and nongovernmental organizations have worked together to implement nonlethal conflict-prevention measures, wolf-caused losses have declined. In Oregon, where no wolves have been killed for livestock-conflicts in the past year and a half due to a court injunction, conflict has been addressed through nonlethal measures only. Even though that state's wolf population has doubled in this time period, wolf-caused losses have declined. Management of wolves in California should rely strictly on nonlethal methods of conflict resolution.
There is only one wolf that's known to be wandering in and out of in California at this time - a species doesn't get any more endangered than that. This wolf must be protected and the wolves that come after him, as well - to ensure their survival, to assist in reestablishment of wolf populations in California and to restore California's natural heritage. I urge you to list the gray wolf under CESA and to fully commit the state's resources to protecting and conserving this magnificent native species.
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