Friday, November 22, 2013

Wolf delisting plan elicits cheers, protests

A federal proposal to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List elicited emotional responses from speakers on both sides of the issue during a public hearing in Sacramento this evening, as some 400 people packed a hotel ballroom to voice their views. Beforehand, about 100 wolf advocates gathered for a rally outside the Marriott Courtyard Cal Expo, where the meeting was held. In the photos, from the top: Timothy and Sameena Crofton of Fremont hold a sign during the rally; others hold signs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials (from left) Mike Jimenez and Gary Frazer listen as hearing officer Mike Chapel speaks; audience members listen intently to a speaker; and Beverly Williams of Merced holds up signs favoring the delisting. As could be expected when you hold a meeting like this so close to the Bay Area, a majority of speakers opposed removing protections for the wolf, and moderator Chapel had to ask them several times to stop cheering each other on and jeering those who voiced the opposite view. But there were numerous supporters of the delisting proposal, including Siskiyou County Resource Conservation District president Scott Murphy. "I've been involved in agriculture and producing food for you for 36 years," Murphy said. "As a livestock producer, I'm concerned about the impact that wolves would have on my livestock should they come to California." The federal officials made the case that wolves had recovered to the point that they no longer need protection. For my full coverage of this meeting and this issue, check soon.

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