Hooray for California taking a stand for gray wolf conservation! The California Fish and Game Commission has voted to formally oppose the Trump administration’s misguided and baseless plan to strip federal protections from wolves.
When the gray wolf gained protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974, a century of hunting, trapping, and habitat loss had pushed them to near extinction in the lower 48 states. And while on their way to recovery, wolves still only inhabit a fraction of their historical range and have much more ground to cover in the West and Northeast.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the Trump administration is rushing to undermine decades of successful wolf conservation efforts to bolster its anti-science and anti-wildlife agenda, all for the benefit of a select few. And this is just one example of the unprecedented threat the Trump administration and like-minded Members of Congress pose to our wildlife and fragile ecosystems.
It took almost 90 years for this iconic species to return to California in 2011, and wolves have just begun to inhabit the state over the last few years. California responded with a warm welcome mat—including a recovery plan and California Endangered Species Act listing—in recognition that as top predators, healthy wolf populations lead to thriving ecosystems; however, there is much more work to be done to ensure that wolves will be here to stay.
Thankfully, the California Fish and Game Commission also recognizes the critical backstop that the ESA plays for species recovery and voted to formally oppose federal delisting at a meeting last week—where NRDC provided public comment in favor of such a move, along with dozens of other supporters. Federal protections help ensure that wolves in neighboring states are protected and thus are critical to cross-border exchanges and regaining wolf populations in the Golden State.
We must stand together to oppose rollbacks of critical wildlife protections and stop the Trump administration from dooming the future of wolves. Join California and oppose delisting the gray wolf under the ESA.