USA: Gray Wolf Appears in California For the Second Time in Nearly 100 Years.

USA1

Gray Wolf Appears in California For the Second Time in Nearly 100 Years

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/gray-wolf-appears-in-california-for-the-second-time-in-nearly-100-years.html#ixzz3iAFO3Koq

Wildlife officials believe they have found evidence that a gray wolf has made its way into northern California, making it the second one to cross the border into the state in almost 100 years.

Officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) said in a statement released this week that they set up remote trail cameras in southeastern Siskiyou County in an effort to follow up on public sightings of a lone wolf that were made earlier this year.

They got some pictures in May of “a large, dark-colored, lone canid,” but couldn’t confirm for certain that it was a wolf. In June, they found tracks and put up more cameras. After downloading photos in July, the suspected wolf was captured in images again, leading biologists to conclude it is indeed a lone wolf based on its size and tracks, who is likely to have wandered down from Oregon.

They’ve since set up more cameras and aim to definitively determine it’s a wolf by collecting and DNA testing scat samples.

The sighting is exciting for wildlife advocates who want to see this iconic species return to their historic range. Wolves once roamed vast portions of the state, but before 2011, there hadn’t been a confirmed sighting since 1924 thanks to government sponsored extermination programs that wiped them out. That’s when collared wolf OR-7, now otherwise known as Journey, made headlines after crossing the border from Oregon on a mission covering hundreds of miles to find a mate and a place to settle down.

The CDFW confirmed it isn’t him, he’s since established territory in Oregon and is busy raising a second litter of pups. While he left the state, his venture there helped clear the way for others of his kind to safely return.

Spurred by a petition from conservation organizations following his appearance, last summer the California Fish and Game Commission voted to protect gray wolves under the state’s endangered species act, which makes it illegal to harm or kill wolves in the state.

The latest sighting also couldn’t have come at a better time, as the CDFW is preparing to release its wolf management plan for public comment, giving those who want to see wolves return to California’s landscape a chance to weigh in on their future there.

“With the potential confirmation of another wolf in California, it is all the more critical that the state wolf plan provide the management strategies that will best recover and conserve these magnificent animals,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “While it’s exciting to most Californians that wolves are returning, there are those who hate wolves and these animals will need all the protections they can get to successfully reestablish here.”

Later this summer, and again in September, the Center, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Conservation Action and Pepperwood Preserve will be co-hosting screenings of a documentary about Journey in an effort to raise awareness about wolf recovery.

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