California Wavering on Protection for Gray Wolves Under State Law

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April 16, 2014

Contact: Courtney Sexton, Defenders of Wildlife:; 202-772-0253


California Wavering on Protection for Gray Wolves Under State Law

VENTURA, Calif. – Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted to delay a decision on establishing state protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. If the commission votes against a state listing after the 90-day deferral, the decision could undermine recovery of the imperiled wolves in California.

This delay comes after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended that the Fish and Game Commission not list the wolves, based on the claim that there were no wolves in the state. While California does not currently have a permanent wolf population, wolves have historically thrived in the state. In 2011, wandering wolf “OR-7” became the first known wolf in California since 1924. OR-7 has visited the state on multiple occasions over the past four years, and his movements through northern California have prompted discussions by scientists and stakeholders about the imminent return of gray wolves to the Golden State. 

Pamela Flick, California representative for Defenders of Wildlife issued the following statement:

“Hopefully this delay will mean good news for gray wolves in California. Gray wolves are just beginning to make their way back to California, and these iconic, highly endangered animals deserve as much protection in our state as the law can provide. Right now is a critical time for California to be proactive in protecting wolves, especially with threats of a federal delisting looming. The California Fish and Game Commission has the authority to provide the necessary protections for wolves in our state, and at the very least, it should adopt a strict prohibition on killing wolves.

“As a state wolf management plan is developed, it is essential that California do everything in its power to protect wolves. A healthy wolf population would contribute to the overall environmental health of our beautiful and biologically rich state, and these animals are among the most culturally significant in our country. California should take its lead from a neighboring state like Oregon where officials have remained committed to developing and implementing balanced management policies for the species, instead of a state like Idaho where anti-wolf extremists have taken hold of the state’s wolf management agenda, resulting in an all-out war on wolves.”


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