January 10th, 2012 10:43 EST
The Future of Wolves is Key Part of the American West
A lone wolf has become the first of its kind in California since the last known wolf was eliminated from the state in 1924.
Known to biologists as OR-7, he has wandered a winding trail, covering hundreds of miles from his original pack in eastern Oregon. His fate could help determine the future of wolves in a key part of the American West.
Right now, Defenders` staff biologists and wildlife advocates are assessing the best ways to ensure a safer future for wolves like OR-7.
OR-7`s pioneering journey in search of a mate has brought him hundreds of miles to a state that hasn`t seen wolves in nearly 90 years. And his story encompasses the struggle of wolves as they reclaim their place in their historic range across the American West.
Help Defenders make the West a safer place for wolves through our on-the-ground work to find commonsense solutions to keep wolves out of harm`s way.
As wolves continue to disperse across the American West, there are some who are understandably wary of or hostile towards a predator that has not been seen in parts of the region since the early 20th Century.
That`s why Defenders is working hard to ensure wolves continue to remain safe in their historic range. Our pioneering work with ranchers and livestock producers has saved lives -- of both wolves and livestock alike -- in the Northern Rockies and Northwest.
We`ve worked closely with state and local officials to enact Oregon`s landmark wolf compensation and coexistence law -- one of the most balanced and innovative in the nation. Thanks to the help of our supporters, a balanced wolf recovery plan in Washington has been approved that will chart a course toward long-term recovery in the state.
Now we stand ready for the hard work ahead in California to ensure that wolves can safely coexist with humans and are accepted as part of the Golden State`s natural heritage -- building on our more than 35 years of successes for wolves other parts of the American West.
If OR-7 or any other wolves defy the odds and establish a pack in California, it will be a milestone in wolf recovery. But it will only be the beginning of a struggle for a safe and lasting future.
By starting now to create partnerships and greater understanding -- when wolves are just beginning to reestablish themselves in their historic range -- we can lay the groundwork for ensuring that wolves can reclaim their place as an important part of a healthy ecosystem.
For wolves, recovery will be a long and treacherous journey -- but with your help, we can ensure these amazing animals will be around for future generations.
Jamie Rappaport Clark
Defenders of Wildlife