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Lone wolf's arrival leads to protection petition
followed by: Protection for OR-7 sought after Idaho wolf is poached, California listing would create need for recovery plan
Protection for OR-7 sought after Idaho wolf is poached
California listing would create need for recovery plan(AP) — The only gray wolf in California arrived after heading south out of Oregon last year while his brother headed east into Idaho, moves that sealed each of their fates.
Herald and News 2/28/12
The brother is dead, shot illegally by a hunter this month, but in the Golden State wildlife advocates are demanding lifesaving protections for the lone wolf known as OR-7. A GPS satellite maps the wolf’s travels, and he is the first of the predators to roam within the state’s boundaries since 1924.On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Fish and Game Commission to protect gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act.
Though gray wolves are protected by the federal act, listing the wolves in California would mean wildlife officials must consider a recovery plan.“There’s really no guide for the management of the gray wolf in California,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity.
“If that one wolf is to become ma ny, wolves need help so they don’t get killed,” Greenwald wrote.Population
If the wolf were protected it would press authorities to determine how many wolves would be needed to populate a given area before it would not be considered endangered. It would include a plan to deal with rancher conflicts over livestock depredation, tools for ranchers to use to avoid conflicts and monitoring for disease such as distemper and rabies.Already the California Department of Fish and Game has been preparing for the wolves’ return. Department officials are meeting with ranchers and environmental groups as they continue work on a management plan that was begun before the wolf even crossed the border.
“ We are really trying to be proactive,” said Karen Kovacs, the wildlife program manager in the northern region the wolf is roaming. “We’ve asked for additional funds that would dedicate staff to focus solely on wolf management, but it depends on what the governor believes is most important. We have water and fish issues in this state, too.”Primary threats
Illegal hunting and car strikes are the primary threats to gray wolves in California, which the petition argues will increase without endangered species status. Oregon and Washington listed the gray wolf before any of the species migrated there.The petition filed with the state says that growing populations in Oregon and the Washington Cascades mean “wolves are likely to continue to naturally disperse to California, and to establish a breeding population.” It cited a 2001 study that concluded that the northeast corner of California could support as many as 470 wolves.
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