Friday, January 13, 2012

Cattle group to 'monitor wolf situation'

From a California Cattlemen's Association newsletter, hot off the presses:
As most cattlemen and women are aware, on Dec. 28, 2011, a 2 ½-year-old, male gray wolf, designated “OR7” and nicknamed Journey, entered California after traveling from northeast Oregon. As of Wednesday, Jan. 10, the wolf was in north Lassen County, having traveled 80 miles in the previous two days.

Historically, wolves inhabited California, but were extirpated. Before OR7, the last confirmed wolf in California was in1924 in Lassen County, but many in the state and many within state agencies have anticipated that wolves would eventually migrate to California, and have been preparing thusly for it. Because the gray wolf is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, it is protected as it moves into California. In a meeting with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), CCA was told that , historically, wolf packs take about ten years to establish in an area, indicating that major threats to livestock may be a few years out.

Last fall, gray wolves in other areas of the U.S., including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and parts of Utah, Oregon and Washington were delisted from Endangered Species Act protection after political pressure from hunters and ranchers. CCA has been engaging with other agricultural groups and DFG to discuss the potential next steps in addressing the possibility of a wolf population in California. While CCA does not want to see the wolf find a home in the state, we are discussing possible management plans and the options they might include. Like several other states with wolf populations, ensuring that ranchers will be compensated for any loss of livestock and developing a depredation permit process that streamlines any bureaucratic review that might impede the ability to deal with a wolf promptly are components to any plan that CCA would consider supporting.

DFG has scheduled meetings with the Board of Supervisors in Modoc, Shasta, Del Norte and Lassen Counties on Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, respectively. CCA encourages local cattlemen’s associations to seek an audience with DFG during those times so that concerns and suggestions may be presented. CCA will continue to provide information on this issue.

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