A family of gray wolves has made the state of California their home after nearly a century of pressure from pollution and hunting.
It’s been nearly a century since wild gray wolves roamed the California countryside. Residents had been expecting the return of the wolves ever since a single male with a radio tag named OR7 wandered across the border from Oregon four years ago and returned shortly after.
According to a report from the LA Times, however, the discovery of seven other wolves in Siskiyou County earlier this month caught wildlife enthusiasts off guard. Two adults and five pups have decided to make California their new home.
The state sponsored a controversial eradication effort in the 20th century that decimated local gray wolf populations. It was the same program that was responsible for the disappearance of most of the state’s grizzly bears.
The gray wolf’s reappearance is a remarkable example of resiliency in the animal kingdom. The wolves’ numbers have been steadily increasing, and individuals have expanded their territory by carving out new niches in the rapidly altered environment. The wolves are back, and unless somebody approves another eradication movement, they will adapt to their roles as predators in the region.
California is well known for its environmental policies that actually precipitate observable changes. Tighter limits on commercial fishing boats and the cleanup of polluted rivers have increased the health of fish drastically, and tighter air pollution limits have made LA an easier place to breathe.
At a time when the fight against species loss is growing in intensity, the gray wolf’s return to California represents a resounding success for wildlife preservation efforts.