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California wolf inspires new state Web page

January 09, 2012|By Dean Kuipers
  • A gray wolf pup from Northeast Oregon's Wenaha pack explores a forest in Wallowa County. A wolf from Oregon's Imnaha pack, designated OR-7 and nicknamed Journey, crossed into California in December.
A gray wolf pup from Northeast Oregon's Wenaha pack explores a forest… (Oregon Department of Fish…)

In response to the arrival of Journey, the Oregon wolf that is now roaming northern California's Shasta County, the California Department of Fish and Game has put together a gray wolf Web page. The DFG put up the new page in response to a huge wave of public interest in the wolf, which is known as OR7 because of its origins in Oregon's Imnaha wolf pack.

The page is pretty bare-bones at this time, but relays some important information. Along with some fact sheets about how to tell a wolf from a coyote (wolves are almost double the size of a coyote, and have a square-ish face, as opposed to the triangular face of the coyote), the page relays three key points:

--The state is not intentionally reintroducing wolves.

--Wolves do not pose any direct risk to humans.

--Wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Last fall, gray wolves in other areas of the U.S. were delisted from Endangered Species Act protection after enormous political pressure from hunters and ranchers. However, any wolf naturally dispersing into California, where wolves have been extinct since a trapper in Lassen County killed the last one in 1924, would be protected under the law.

The Web page could help minimize the misinformation and unease that are certain to follow the wolf as it looks for a mate in California.

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