Two of OR-7’s pups peek out from behind the log. Rogue National Forest. Photo courtesy of USFWS.
Great news for wolves! Early this afternoon, the California State Fish and Game Commission voted three to one to grant protections to Gray Wolves under the California Endangered Species Act.
The decision came after three hours of testimony from nearly two hundred members of the public, many of who were dressed in gray and wearing paper hats shaped and painted like wolves. One especially endearing comment, which made the entire hall smile, was delivered by two-year toddler Madrone Shelton who clearly stated to the Commissioners, “protect wolves.”
Cuteness was in the air when a new photo from the Oregon Department of Wildlife surfaced that verified California’s famous wandering wolf, OR-7 and his new mate, had successfully sired a litter of puppies!
This announcement further cemented the need to list the wolf under the California Endangered Species Act. It is likely that OR-7 and his family will travel back into California once the pups are old enough, and protections under the law will help ensure their future safety.
The serendipitous humor of OR-7’s activities could not be better timed. Back in February, the very day that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told Commissioners that listing was not warranted because there were no wolves present, OR-7 jumped the border back into California; and again, as if on cue, today’s news of OR-7’s puppies happened within minutes of the Department’s stating that there is still not a breeding pair of wolves in California and that the other wolf that has been spotted with OR-7, may not be female.
We think OR-7 was trying to tell us something—that California is wolf country and that we will have wolves within our state in the very near future, so be prepared!
Meanwhile, the process for developing a California Wolf Management Plan is still underway. EPIC, and other groups representing a diverse set of interests, are helping the Department of Fish and Wildlife develop a management plan that balances the biological needs of wolves and the needs of society.
For more than two years, we have worked to get protections put in place for Gray Wolves. We could not have done it without you. Together we have sent more than 4,000 comments to Commissioners and today we were delivered a sweet and satisfying victory for wildlife protection.
Let us celebrate this announcement by sending out a collective howl for the future of California’s wolves, “Ahh-wooooooo!”