For Immediate Release, August 3, 2015
Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence Found of New Wolf in California's Siskiyou County
Would Be Only Second Wolf in the State in Nearly 100 Years
SAN FRANCISCO— Evidence of a wolf in Siskiyou County was reported today by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Following up on citizen sightings of a lone, dark-colored canid, agency staff obtained photographic images from a trail camera and spotted fresh tracks, indications that California is now home to its second wolf in nearly a century. The wolf, which may be roaming in Siskiyou County, is not wearing a radio-collar, so its movements will be detectable only by trail camera, tracks, scat and sightings. State fish and wildlife officials aim to obtain scat samples from the animal for DNA testing to determine conclusively whether it is a wolf.
“This is very exciting news,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves are proving what scientists have said all along — that California has great habitat for wolves.”
The first wolf in nearly a century to make California part of its range was OR-7, a radio-collared wolf from Oregon that entered California in late 2011. OR-7 ranged across seven northeastern counties in California before returning to southwestern Oregon, where he found a mate and has had two litters of pups in 2014 and 2015.
The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is native to California but was driven to extinction in the state by the mid-1920s. After OR-7 dispersed from Oregon into California, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned the state to fully protect wolves under California’s state endangered species act. 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. Under California law, it is the policy of the state to conserve, protect, enhance and restore any state-listed species. 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 the agency is expected to release its draft plan for public comment shortly.
“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 Weiss. “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.”
As part of its efforts to help the public learn more about wolves and wolf recovery, the Center and co-hosting organizations will be screening a documentary about wolf OR-7 and regional wolf recovery on Aug. 26 in Santa Rosa, with a question-and-answer session conducted by Weiss and the film’s director immediately following the film. A September screening will be held in Berkeley. Tickets for the Santa Rosa screening can be purchased here.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.