December 30, 2011
Lone Gray Wolf On The Move
A lone gray wolf, fitted with a GPS collar by Oregon Department of Fish and Game, has been tracked crossing into northern California, report biologists from the golden state.
The two and a half year-old male wolf was fitted with the collar in Oregon last February and has been tracked wandering more than 300 miles from its original location. Its movement into California was widely anticipated as it approached the border just before Christmas, ABC News reports.
Department of Fish and Game Director Charlton H. Bonham released a statement saying, “Whether one is for it or against it, the entry of this lone wolf into California is a historic event and result of much work by the wildlife agencies in the West. If the gray wolf does establish a population in California, there will be much more work to do here.”
Gray wolves are a designated a federally endangered species and there is conflict between wolves and ranchers across western states as the animals are reintroduced into wilderness areas.
Whether the wolf will remain in California or wander back to Oregon or on to Nevada is not known, it is typical for young male wolves to wander.
California authorities expect a slow wolf migration in the future after the 1995 introduction of a Canadian gray wolf pack to Idaho and areas around Yellowstone National Park. Wolves first re-entered Oregon in 1999.
New packs could become established if more wolves migrate, “If the gray wolf does establish a population in California, there will be much more work to do here,” Bonham said.
Any gray wolf that returns to California is protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Based on experience from states where substantial wolf populations exist, officials said, wolves pose little risk to humans, however the Department of Fish and Game recommends that people never approach or feed a wolf, reports Cathy Locke for the Sacramento Bee.
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