As wild wolves from Oregon “recolonize” Northern California and specifically Lassen County, our local ranchers face a completely untenable situation — they cannot protect their livestock from the gray wolf — an apex predator.
Government officials note the wolves were not reintroduced to California, but have naturally found their way into our state. That’s true. But the wolves were reintroduced into Central Idaho and migrated to Oregon and then to California.
The gray wolf is listed as an endangered species by the federal government and protected in California under the Engendered Species Act. It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves or attempt to engage in such conduct. Potential penalties include a $100,000 fine and up to one year imprisonment.
The wife of a rancher provided photographs to the newspaper of the wolves or wolf dogs she and her husband believe have been killing their cattle watching them load their cows onto trucks to move them to the Central Valley. — on private property in board daylight.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed one of their cattle was killed by wolves, the first loss of livestock due to wolf depredation in Lassen County in nearly a century.
The Lassen Pack — so far believed to be a mating pair and three pups — has shown itself to be fearless in the face of humans and capable of bringing down livestock and feeding upon the carcasses.
Ranchers and the government need to work together and come up with a new solution to protect our cattle industry.