California Fish and Game Commission lists gray wolf as endangered

Decision consistent with 2013 recommendation by SCB's North America Section

June 4, 2014. California officials voted 3 to 1 today to add the gray wolf to the state's endangered species list, extending protections to the animal under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). This step was recommended by the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) in its comments of May 2013, submitted on behalf of its North America Section and its Humboldt State University Chapter. Gray wolves were extirpated from California by the 1940s, but in December 2011 a male gray wolf known as OR-7 dispersed from a wolf pack in Oregon, becoming California’s first documented wolf in over 70 years.  OR-7, which currently resides in the southern Oregon Cascades, has recently mated with another wild wolf and is suspected to be rearing pups. In 2012, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) began the process of determining whether to protect the gray wolf as an endangered species under the CESA. CDFW ultimately recommended that the commission not list the species. This recommendation was criticized by scientific peer reviewers, and the commission ultimately chose to list the species. 

SCB's 2013 comments noted that listing under the CESA will provide the CDFW with the necessary policy and material support to protect and restore this once-widespread species that has been extirpated from most of its historic range within California.  The protection, conservation, and restoration of the gray wolf under CESA is more important than ever given the upcoming release of a final proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves across most of their historic range including California and other areas of suitable habitat where gray wolves could still be recovered.

Read SCB's 2013 comments HERE.