Sustainability Means Cooperation

by Kyle Cooper
Posted on

 

Meet OR-7.  We care about him and want you to know why you should too.


California has cool animals.  Really cool animals like grizzly bears.  We are so proud of these native residents that we put one on our flag.  The image of a grizzly bear was chosen because it was thought to represent strength and unyielding resilience.  That was in 1911.  If a new animal were to be chosen today, there would be a strong case for the gray wolf.

Evidence of gray wolves in California has been found in the La Brea Tar Pits as well as being represented in most native Californian languages, whom had a term for "wolf" that was distinct from terms for "coyote" and "dog."  But with western expansion, wolves were slowly and totally eradicated from the state amidst concern for human safety and preservation of live stock.  On June 13, 1924, a government trapper caught a sickly, three-legged male, confirming him as the last known gray wolf in California.  

Enter, OR-7. 

OR-7 was the seventh gray wolf tagged from the second litter of wolves to be born in Oregon after their reintroduction to the state in the 1990s.  In 2011, he left the Wallowa Mountains in Northeastern Oregon and headed south, presumably to find a mate.  Within a year, he traveled nearly 1,000 miles and become the first confirmed wolf to enter the state of California in 87 years.  Since 2011, OR-7 has travelled in and around Northern California and appears to have settled with a mate and pups, known as the Rogue Pack, in Southwest Oregon.

There are two confirmed wolf packs that reside in California.  The Shasta Pack in Siskiyou County and the Lassen Pack found in the Lassen National Forest.  Through scientific processes, the Lassen Pack alpha male has been determined to be an off-spring of OR-7's Rogue Pack.  The Lassen Pack is known to travel into the Plumas National Forest, the same National Forest that backs up to our Diamond Mountain Ranch.

These incredible and resilient animals have since made headlines as they have appeared on the federal endangered species list and have been covered under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of California.  According to state law, any attempt to "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect" gray wolves can come with a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison. 

Over the past several months, we have had 2 bison and 8 cow calves lost to what is referred to as wolf depredation.  While we do not want to harm the wolves, we do need to consider the safety of our animals and the impact that it will have on our customers.  Rather than fight against the wolves & the government, we want to live with them.

By working with our communities in both Southern and Northern California, our goal is to create and become the first certified Predator Friendly Ranch.  This can be achieved through modifying the way we protect our animals to deter the wolves, bears, mountain lions, raccoons and skunks from becoming dependent on them as a food source.

Over the next coming months, we will be covering our efforts towards a Predator Friendly Ranch and will highlight ways in which you as our members can help us achieve our goals in setting new standard for the way meat is raised in America and the impact it has on all aspects of the environment.

 

 

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