Take Action: Gray Wolves in California may be left without state protections under the California Endangered Species Act if the California Fish and Game Commission were to follow the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to not list the species.
On February 5, 2014, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released it’s final status report for the Gray Wolf. It advised the California Fish and Game Commission to not list Gray Wolves as “endangered,” as requested by a petition from EPIC and a coalition of other groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity, because there are currently no wolves in California.
The Department is instead recommending alternative measures to protect wolves. These measures include:
The designation of the wolf as a “special species of concern;”
The existence of the wolf stake-holder group that is producing a Gray Wolf Management Plan;
Commission actions under the existing California Fish and Game Code that would prevent “take” of the Gray Wolf, even in response to depredation of livestock; and
The possibility of listing the Gray Wolf under California Endangered Species Act at a later date.
These measures are considered inadequate by our staff at EPIC because they fail to afford the fullest protection of California endangered species law to these imperiled species.
While the Department is charged with conducting the status review, and preparing the status report with recommendations to the Commission, the Commission itself is the final authority as to whether or not listing of the Gray Wolf as “endangered” is warranted. The Commission is tentatively scheduled to hear the Gray Wolf listing and make a final determination at it’s April 2014 meeting in Ventura, California.
Meanwhile, the Federal proposal to “de-list” the gray wolf in the lower 48 states has hit a substantial snag with the recent release of the peer review report regarding the scientific foundations of the “de-listing” proposal. Scientists clearly state in the peer review report that the “de-listing” proposal is not based on the best available science.
For California, the decision as to whether the Gray Wolf warrants state protections must be informed by public opinion as well as the best available science, both of which largely support the “endangered” listing.