Monday, February 2, 2015

Betting in the California Wolf Sweepstakes

By Bob Ferris

A decade and half ago I speculated both about the possibility of wolves in California and the time table.  My sense was that this happy event would happen 20 years or so after the Yellowstone and central Idaho re-locations.  Admittedly these were happy and jubilant times.

Steve Fritts (l), Dave Mech (r) and me in Fort Saint John BC
I say jubilant above because the effort was hailed as one of the most significant conservation achievements of the 20th Century and marked the implementation of an idea put forth by Aldo Leopold more than half a century before the releases.  Although there has been and remains much in terms of acrimonious attitude towards the wolf, that does not dim the magnitude of this accomplishment or the significance of the progress that has been made, but rather it defines the work remaining to be done.

My thoughts today are on the above predictions and how the newest mapping of wolf packs and areas of known wolf activity in Oregon reflect my past optimism.  It is interesting to note in this newest graphic that OR-7’s movements—now that the Rogue Pack (Journey, Wanda and their pups) has formed—are so different than last year’s when he was looking high and low for a mate.  But of most interest to me at this point will be how the Rogue Pack interacts or not with the wolves being observed in the Keno area and whether the first pack and pups in California comes from the Rogue Pack, the Keno group or some other source and when.

As a multi-generation, native Californian and westerner for me the “brass ring” in all of this was and
Rogue Pack pups 2014
is seeing wolves re-established in California.  Right now my arm is outstretched, the carousel is spinning, and my finger is seeking this long-awaited prize.

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