Last week the California Fish and Game Commission voted to make the gray wolf a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act, a decision that will provide immediate protection to the state’s lone wolf OR-7, while a one-year status review is completed.
The decision was spurred by a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups including Big Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, who want to see wolves return safely to the state.
“California needs a road map for recovering wolves,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director, in a statement. “Wolf populations in neighboring states will continue to expand, and more wolves will almost certainly show up in California. These wolves will need protection when they arrive.”
Wolves are protected under federal law, but with some populations in the West increasing, they may be delisted by the Fish and Wildlife Service. There is also no recovery plan in California to ensure their protection and survival.
“Wolves have been an integral part of North American landscapes, including in California, for millions of years and are cherished, iconic animals that deserve a certain future,” said Greenwald. “The return of wolves to California will help restore the natural balance and reverse the historic wrong done by people who shot, poisoned and persecuted wolves into oblivion.”
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