This week California moved to keep gray wolves on the endangered species list.
California does not have any gray wolves living within its borders, but wildlife officials believe it’s only a matter of time before they reemerge in the state.
The state is somewhat divided on how to manage gray wolves should they emerge in the state. The agricultural industry wants to be able to manage wolves that are a threat to their livestock populations. Wildlife advocates want to protect wolves, and help them reestablish themselves in their historic range.
On Wednesday, in a 3-1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission rejected a wolf management proposal that would have allowed the state’s ranchers to kill wolves that threaten their livestock.
According to the LA Times, many in the state’s agriculture industry are disappointed with the state’s decision.
“I was hopeful that the commission would place a lot of value in that recommendation,” said Noelle Cremers of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
You might be wondering, why a state that has no wolves is debating their management and protection. It’s a matter of what’s likely coming, rather than what’s already there.
Since their reintroduction to the Rocky Mountains in 90’s, gray wolves have begun to reestablish themselves in the western range.
We saw that earlier this week with the announcement that OR7 – a famous wandering gray wolf that migrates between Oregon and California – is now fathering pups in southern Oregon, hundreds of miles from any known wolf pack.
Researchers have been able to monitor OR7’s whereabout because he wears a radio collar. There could be other wolves wandering west towards southern Oregon and California that biologists don’t even know about, though that remains speculation.
We’ll keep you informed about how California plans to manage wolves in the coming years.