State wildlife officials in California declined to call off a coyote-hunting contest in Modoc County this weekend but, in response to public outcry, agreed to take steps to clarify the scope of the hunt and protect OR-7, the first wild wolf in California in nearly nine decades. The precautionary steps were recommended by a coalition of conservation groups representing more than a million Californians, including Project Coyote, the Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Welfare Institute.
The California Fish and Wildlife Department received more than 20,000 comments and petition signatures from members of the public who oppose the coyote hunt. On Wednesday, following a hearing that included testimony from more than a dozen hunt-contest opponents, wildlife officials agreed to educate the hunt’s sponsors and participants on the physical differences between coyotes and wolves and to make clear that shooting wolves violates both state and federal law. The agency will also provide wardens to monitor the hunt and ensure it complies with the law.