Shasta Wolf Pack August 2015. Courtesy CDFW
Action Alert: The California Fish and Game Commission is accepting comments on the Draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California and they need to hear your voice. The two part document includes goals, strategies and phases for wolf management as their populations within the state begin to grow. The gray wolf is one of the most iconic species in the American West, where they lived for thousands of years before they were driven to extinction as the land was settled, and now we finally have the opportunity to allow them to return to their former habitat and restore the natural order of the land as an apex predator.
It is important to remember the brutal past wolves have survived, and it is essential that mechanisms are put in place to ensure their populations are allowed to increase until they are proven to have well-established viable populations within the state. EPIC is concerned that the inclusion of the phases contained within the wolf plan could lead to premature delisting or lethal management when only a hand full of breeding pairs are detected within the state, and before the gray wolf populations have had a chance to become stable.
The overall tone of the document seems to treat wolves as a burden characterizing their return to the state as a challenge, instead of celebrating this opportunity for wolf recovery.
Currently, it is not legal under the Federal Endangered Species Act or the California Endangered Species Act to kill wolves. The Draft Plan prematurely outlines a blueprint for delisting gray wolves, without sufficient information identifying what a “conserved” condition for gray wolves means in California.