A gray wolf (not OR7). (Photo credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)
After hours of public testimony last Wednesday, the California Fish and Game Commission moved one step closer toward securing endangered species protection for the first gray wolf in California in more than 80 years.
I blogged recently about California's celebrity wolf, named OR7, as well as the petition by four environmental groups that prompted the Commission's action. Recent weeks have seen strong public support for protecting OR7. At last Wednesday's public meeting, for example, the Endangered Species Coalition presented more than 7,000 letters and emails from wolf supporters.
The decision to advance the gray wolf to "candidate" status now launches a one-year study by Department of Fish and Game staff to determine whether the wolf should be listed under the California Endangered Species Act. The process includes a public participation component, so the public will get the chance to weigh in with data and comments. I will keep my eye out and post information on how to provide comments here when it becomes available, and we will continue to push for long-term protection for the gray wolf so this iconic native species can roam California's forests and mountains once again.