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California Releases Final Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves


Media contact: Catalina Tresky, (202) 772-0253 or ctresky@defenders.org


California Releases Final Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (December, 7 2016) – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released the final state conservation plan for gray wolves late yesterday, which will guide the management of the iconic species into the future.

Pamela Flick, California representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“There was a time when the return of gray wolves in California seemed nearly improbable. Now, five years after OR-7 journeyed here from northeastern Oregon, we have a final state conservation plan for wolves.

“This plan is a roadmap for the future of wolves in California, a major milestone for wolf recovery in the West and quite possibly the best state wolf management plan yet.

“But there is still more the state can do to ensure wolves’ safe passage across the landscape. Defenders of Wildlife looks forward to working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other partners to implement this plan and to provide proactive tools and coexistence strategies to minimize conflicts and share the landscape peacefully with wolves.

“Coexistence is a critical component for restoring wolves to their historical range in the Golden State. We stand ready to make wolf recovery in California a reality.”


California wolves

The gray wolf is a native species that was extirpated from California in the 1920s. In 2011 a male gray wolf (OR-7) traveled hundreds of miles from its pack in northeastern Oregon and entered California in December that year. His presence in California prompted members of the public to petition the California Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

On June 4, 2014 the commission found that such listing was warranted and voted to list gray wolves under CESA. In addition, CDFW has prepared for the return of wolves to California by convening a Stakeholder Working Group to assist in the development of a wolf plan in California.

In spring 2015 a CDFW trail camera in Siskiyou County recorded a lone wolf. Additional cameras deployed in the vicinity took multiple photos showing two adults and five pups. CDFW designated this as the “Shasta Pack.” Just last month CDFW confirmed a pair of wolves in California. Genetic analysis shows that the male is OR-7’s son, which dispersed southeast from the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.


For more than 30 years, Defenders of Wildlife has led the way in reducing conflicts with predators, from polar bears in Alaska, panthers in Florida, grizzlies in the northern Rockies and wolves throughout the United States. Coexistence is an important way to secure a real future for these iconic species.

Recognizing the importance of working lands stewarded by ranchers not only for livestock production but for preservation of open space and habitat for rare and common species alike, Defenders co-founded the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition more than 10 years ago.

Defenders’ California program continues to make coexistence efforts a top priority. Our experts give educational presentations on our approach at workshops across the state. We have also provided tools to livestock producers in need of assistance with implementing proactive tools for reducing conflicts with predators. Defenders will be hosting range rider trainings in the coming year.

In May the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara published a report that used spatial analyses to forecast potential conflict hotspots in California. It also analyzed what specific conflict prevention strategies may be most feasible for livestock producers to implement on their operations in northern California.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.