Room to roam?
The wild mountains, plateaus and forests of northeastern California are becoming a stronghold for wolves dispersing from Oregon.
This week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that yet another wolf — a three-year old male — appears to be “exhibiting dispersal behavior” in Modoc County.The latest report comes after the agency said a small pack, including two adults and five wolf pups, has set up a territory in Siskiyou County.
The Modoc County wolf left his birthpack in northeastern Oregon in April, was in southwestern Oregon by December and recently crossed the border into California, according to wildlife conservation advocates.
“California is clearly wolf country because they keep coming here from Oregon. This is a great moment to celebrate,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Perhaps they are following a scent trail from other wolves that have come here the past couple years but, whatever the reason, it makes it all the more necessary to ensure they have the protections needed to thrive once they get here.”
The gray wolf is native to California but was extirpated from the state by the mid-1920s.
In June 2014 the California Fish and Game Commission voted in favor of the petition, making it illegal to intentionally kill any wolves that enter the state. In 2012 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife convened a citizen stakeholder group to help the agency develop a state wolf plan for California, and recently released a draft plan for public comment.
“With the establishment of the Shasta pack and now with OR-25’s presence, it is all the more critical that the state wolf plan provide management strategies that will best recover and conserve these magnificent animals,” said Weiss.