Gray wolves are back in California, and whether you love them or hate them, it seems they are here to stay.
Right now, we have the Shasta Pack up in Siskiyou County, but as OR7 showed us, these animals can range over thousands of miles. In a few years, we in Butte and Tehama counties may have wolves for neighbors. I for one welcome the return of this iconic and controversial species, not with open arms but with a quiet respect borne of growing up in the rural mountains of the north state.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has wrapped up the public comment period for the Draft Wolf Conservation Plan, but folks continue to sound off. The old fears are alive and well, that wolves will decimate our deer, our livestock and even attack people, despite all evidence to the contrary. It’s likely that California will only ever be home to a few hundred of the big canids. There is still space enough for everyone.
A recent “ranching with wolves” workshop in McArthur drew more than 150 people interested in learning coexistence methods. Living with wolves may not be easy. It may require changes in livestock husbandry and hunting tactics, but our California landscape will be enhanced, not destroyed, by the presence of wolves.
I look forward to the day when I may come across wolf tracks of listen to the howling of a pack in full cry while camping in the mountains of Northern California.
— Sarah Skinner, Durham