Thursday, October 9, 2014

UPDATED: CA State commission upholds decision to put wolf on endangered species list

MOUNT SHASTA, California - The gray wolf drew a fresh round of supporters and opponents to Mount Shasta on Wednesday.

Even though the California Fish and Game Commission approved listing the wolf as a California endangered species in June, more than 30 people spoke to the panel Wednesday about whether it should go forward with the plan.

As a followup to its action this past spring, the commission met in Mount Shasta to consider adopting findings, or reasons, why it should list the wolf as endangered.

They voted 2-1 to adopt the findings. Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin voted against it because she felt it is not clear to ranchers how they can protect their livestock from wolves.
Hostler-Carmesin had plenty of support from North State politicians and representatives from the ranching and farming community.

There are currently no gray wolves living in California, but from 2011 to 2014, the gray wolf OR-7 has lived in the state off and on, traveling between Southern Oregon and Northern California several times. OR-7’s presence in the state prompted the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups to ask state officials to list it as an endangered species.

OR-7 migrated from northeast Oregon in 2011 to Southern Oregon and finally into California in December 2011, becoming the first documented wild wolf to live in the state since the animals were killed off in the 1920s.

The commission listed four basic reasons for adding the wolf to the list of endangered species in California: the threat of over-exploitation, predation, disease and other natural occurrences or human-related activities.

Ranching and farming groups oppose listing the wolf because they are worried they would prey on livestock. Hunting groups are also concerned wolves will harm elk and deer herds.

“Bringing in the wolf will undo 70 years of restoring our elk population” in Shasta County, said Stan Neutze, a member of the Shasta County Sportsmen’s Association.

OR-7 is currently living in Southern Oregon. He and his mate also had a litter of puppies in April.
While some speakers consider the wolf a threat to public safety, others said the wolf should be welcomed back to the state.

"You are in an area that has high hatred to the natural systems around," Barbara Coulter of Mount Shasta told the commission, referring to Siskiyou County residents opposed to the wolves’ return.

The commission also took public comment on a proposal to clarify state regulations that prohibit hunting contests that give out prizes and other inducements for killing nongame mammals.
But the commission did not take action on final regulations on the issue.​