FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Courtney Sexton, Defenders of Wildlife: email@example.com ; 202-772-0253
Great Day in CA for Gray Wolves:
California commission votes to protect gray wolves; OR-7 has a family
State decides to list wolves as endangered on same day pups are confirmed near California
FORTUNA, Calif. (June 4, 2014) – Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted to establish state protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act after delaying the decision at an April hearing. With recent discussions by scientists and stakeholders about the imminent return of gray wolves to the Golden State, the commission has taken an important step towards protecting the wolf within state boundaries.
The decision comes on the same day that wildlife biologists have confirmed that a new wolf pack is forming in Oregon near the California border. Video surveillance from last month suggested that the closely-tracked male wolf, ‘OR-7,’ had found a mate and that they were denning in the southern Cascades. Previously, OR-7 had become famous when he spent months wandering in and out of California, the first wolf to set foot in the state since early in the last century. New photos from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife showing two pups near the denning site were released today.
Pamela Flick, California representative for Defenders of Wildlife issued the following statement:
“California is really on top of the game with this one - the commission’s decision is terrific news for wolves in California and for the wider wolf population in the Pacific west. 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. We are so grateful that the Fish and Game Commission has voted to establish those protections.
“Just last month, we were excited to hear that our favorite wandering wolf and part-time Californian, ‘OR-7’ may be starting a family near the California border – we are just ecstatic to see that this has now been confirmed by photos of his adorable pups.
“Establishing strict protections for wolves in our state early on will protect wolves like ‘OR-7’ and his family should they decide to roam back into our state. They are also crucial for jumpstarting recovery efforts of the imperiled animals when they return permanently and for laying the groundwork for the use of effective non-lethal tools for allowing wolves and livestock to coexist on the same landscape.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org  and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews .