Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Gray wolves get state protection

A gray wolf in Wyoming

Posted on | October 8, 2012
Written by: Janet Zimmerman 

The California Fish and Wildlife Commission is offering more protections to the state’s only gray wolf, known as OR-7, which roams Northern California and is the first of the species here in almost a century.

The commission last week voted to make the gray wolf a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act. The decision initiates a one-year status review before a decision is made about permanent protection.

Gray wolves are currently protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said it intends to remove this protection.

Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said neither the state or feds have developed a recovery plan for wolves in California. Such a plan would specify management actions needed to protect and recover the species and establish population targets.
“California needs a road map for recovering wolves,” Greenwald said. “Wolf populations in neighboring states will continue to expand, and more wolves will almost certainly show up in California. These wolves will need protection when they arrive.”

Between wolves crossing the border from Canada and efforts to reintroduce them into Yellowstone National Park, wolf populations have continued to grow in the northern Rocky Mountains and Oregon and Washington, Greenwald said.

The wolf known as OR-7, or Journey, who arrived in California in December 2011, came from a pack formed in 2008 when wolves moved from Idaho to the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon, he said.