Wolves, and Misinformation About Them, Make a California Comeback

As an example, California’s Endangered Species Act, which protects both rural and urban areas equally, is among the nation’s strongest. In California, it is illegal to harm or kill a wolf.

Tracking where the wolves go and collecting blood samples, DNA samples and other health information whenever feasible helps the state’s fish and wildlife agency better understand who remains and who leaves and where they settle.

Satellite modems are affixed to the neck collars of some wolves. Individual wolves’ collar data is periodically exchanged between California and Oregon’s fish and wildlife departments. Trail cameras and DNA samples from California’s Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, and Siskiyou Counties occasionally reveal uncollared wolves.

Wolves in California even survived the Dixie wildfire last summer, which was the state’s second-largest in history and scorched over one million acres of their territory.

Not everyone is, of course, thrilled about the return of wolves. Mr. Laudon’s job entails a lot of public relations work to clear the wolves’ name. Through non-threatening communication, he seeks to break down boundaries and empower others to make their own choices. Occasionally, it succeeds in its goal.

On more than 200,000 acres in Lassen and Plumas counties, contract grazer Dusty de Braga keeps livestock under his care. First, he thought they were being imported, but he was proven wrong.

He remarked, “It seemed fishy to me.” He changed his mind after seeing the tracking data from the collared wolves. It’s possible, he continued, that they spontaneously scattered, but he went on to say that many others believed state wildlife officers brought them in.

Since the arrival of the wolves, Mr. de Braga has observed them on a semi-regular basis. Wolves have murdered more than 20 cows and calves in the last five years between his herd and the herds of his two nearest neighbours. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a few have been confirmed.