Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider a proposed law Tuesday that would "prohibit the presents of wolves in Siskiyou County."
The misspelled ordinance, written by Leo Bergeron, the president of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, was not referring to wolf welcome gifts, but the presence of wolves in the county.
The law would declare wolves, wolf hybrids and wolf dogs to be "injurious, detrimental and damaging to the county and its inhabitants" and an "imminent danger to individuals, families and the lives of others."
It would also presumably allow ranchers to shoot California's only wolf, the first of his species in the state in almost 90 years.
That wolf, known to scientists as OR7 and to wolf advocates as Journey, left what is known as the Imnaha Pack in Wallowa County, Ore., last year and traveled more than 1,000 miles through dense forests and over mountainous terrain looking for a mate. He crossed the California state line in December and was tracked by game officials using signals from his GPS collar through Siskiyou, Lassen and Shasta counties and back again. The lonely canine is now in southwestern Modoc County.
His wanderings have caused a sensation throughout California and around the world, particularly among children.
The farmers and ranchers in Siskiyou County, however, don't much like predators in their midst. Although OR7 has not touched any livestock, there is concern among the locals that more of his kind will soon be loping across the Oregon border and sinking their teeth into local lambs, calves and children.
The proposed ordinance would declare wolves as trespassers and require agencies and other groups responsible for reintroducing wolves into the United States to remove any that show up.
"Failure to effect removal of said wolf or wolves will result in the wolf or wolves to be destroyed," says the proposed ordinance.
If passed, the ordinance will undoubtedly be challenged in court. Wolves in California are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A petition was also filed recently by four conservation groups urging protection of gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. The petition would require the California Department of Fish and Game to prepare a wolf recovery plan, specify a target population and come up with ways to manage conflicts, including livestock depredation.