Diverse voices come together to discuss living with California wolves in recent nonlethal workshopI remember when California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife reported OR-7’s appearance in California in late December 2011. OR-7 was the first wild wolf in the Golden State in nearly a century. What an historic event! I never thought that would occur in my lifetime.
It wasn’t until we learned about the presence of our resident Shasta Pack just this past August that it hit me: California wolf country is a reality, and we have a golden opportunity to make a tremendous difference for this iconic species.
I am pleased to report that Defenders and several of our conservation partners worked closely with Wildlife Services to organize and host this workshop. It’s no secret that Defenders has serious concerns about Wildlife Services’ lethal wildlife management strategies for wolves, particularly when it comes to lethal control to boost game populations. However, it is worth noting that the agency has recently ramped up its work to share information with ranchers about nonlethal prevention strategies to protect their livestock, not just here in California but in states throughout the west, including where we have the highest number of wolves and other large predators. This has been a welcome shift in Wildlife Services and one that we’d like to see more of well into the future.
While the workshop in McArthur was an incredibly important first step in California wolf recovery efforts, it is just the beginning. This year will bring even more opportunities to work with our ranching, conservation and government partners on this important and historical conservation opportunity in California. Through open communication and collaboration, it is my hope that we will all be able to find ways to live in harmony with wolves as they continue to make their return home to the Golden State.