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SCB Calls for Protection of Gray Wolf Under California Law

May 6, 2013.  Today the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) submitted comments on behalf of its North America Section and its Humboldt State University Chapter in support of protecting the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  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 (click HERE for a map of OR-7's travels in California between 2011-2013).  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.

The removal of wolves has been shown to result in significant changes to species’ composition in diverse ecosystems across their former range, and the return of wolves has been shown to result in cascading effects that often result in increased biological diversity.  Because large areas of suitable wolf habitat exist in California, it is likely that wolves will continue to disperse into the state from source populations in Oregon and Washington.  Therefore, SCB believes that it is important for the CDFW develop a management plan under the auspices of the CESA with the goal of recovery of gray wolves within California. 

SCB believes 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 likely release of a 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 the comments HERE.