Target: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Goal: Allow endangered gray wolf populations in California to recover.
In 2015, a gray wolf pack was spotted for the first time in almost 100 years in northern California. Dubbed the “Shasta Pack” due to their presence near Mount Shasta in a remote corner of the state, the seven wolves — an adult pair and their pups — had evidently entered from Oregon to make their home further south. With wolves only recently added to California’s Endangered Species Act, it was a moment celebrated by conservationists as the first sign of their recovery.
However, the pack hasn’t been spotted since 2016, and now representatives from the California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau Federation have teamed with the conservative-leaning Pacific Legal Foundation to sue California’s Fish and Game Commission, claiming the state cannot enforce protections for the wolf if this species doesn’t reside within the state. This is of course without ecological merit, given the fact that wolves are known to live in nearby Oregon and they do not recognize state lines. These is also well-established evidence showing that gray wolves from three subspecies once resided over most of the state.
Gray wolves are a keystone species needed to keep California’s remaining wilderness areas healthy long-term and their recovery must be encouraged. The risks they pose to people and livestock are greatly overblown by the agricultural industry. In the entire time that the Shasta Pack was known to have resided in northern California, they were implicated in only one possible killing of a calf. Their current whereabouts are unknown, but given the fact that wolves will travel great distances, it is possible that they have simply wandered elsewhere. It is also equally possible that they could have been illegally killed by a rancher or hunter, which makes it imperative that these protections remain in place alongside a state recovery plan.
If the California Fish and Game Commission is made to remove the gray wolf from the state’s Endangered Species Act list, it is unlikely that wolves will ever re-establish themselves within California. With wolves throughout the country at risk of losing federal and state protections, the species as a whole could be at risk. Sign below to urge California’s attorney general to defend crucial protections for wolves in the state.
Dear Attorney General Becerra,
The California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau are simply incorrect in their assertion that wolves don’t belong in California and that they do not reside within the state. Historical evidence shows that as many as three subspecies of gray wolf once called California home. Given the recent reappearance of wolves in near Mount Shasta in 2015, we should be celebrating these signs of their recovery, as the species is much needed to ensure biodiversity within the state.
Although the Shasta Pack has remained elusive at this time, we know that wolves do live in nearby Oregon, and it is only a matter of time before more packs try to establish themselves within state lines. These wolves desperately need to remain protected under California’s Endangered Species Act if they are to have any chance of recovery. With federal protections for wolves increasingly called into question, this could be their last line of defense.
I hope you will do everything possible to defend wolves in court and protect healthy wild habitats within California.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ronnie MacDonald