Loss of a Predator: the Gray Wolf Vs. California Essay examples

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California's last solitary wolf was reportedly killed in 1924 in Lassen County. Once a widely distributed species throughout the Pacific Northwest, the settlement of European Americans brought the eradication of the Gray wolf from California.

Bounties on wolves had been established in Europe dating back to ancient Greece, so consequently European settlers came to America with this plan in mind. An early Plymouth Colony established a fine from "whoever shall shoot off a gun on an unnecessary occasion, or at any game except at an Indian or a wolf" (Hampton 63). Settlers believed that wolves were the embodiment of evil - endangering human life and well being, killing livestock, and depleting game animals. The government placed
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Large carcasses provided food for many animals from eagles and bears to beetles and microscopic organisms that break meat down, eventually creating fertilizer for plants.

The absence of wolves has allowed for smaller predators to increase in population and range, such as coyotes and raccoons. These species in turn cause greater exploitation of their specific food sources. Coyotes have now assumed the position of top predator in California, making populations of foxes dwindle as they compete for the similar food sources.

The chain of events is continuous once a high order predator is eliminated. Reintroducing wolves into California may help restore the balance and diversity of plants and animals in our ecosystem. However, the return of wolves would not be without problems. California is very different now from the environment it once was when wolves lived here. They would have to contend with the growing human population, development, and livestock industries. Politics and public opinion might also be against them.

Even though the wolf does not play a big part in California's mainstream society today, it was once an important animal to many Native American groups. The fact that the natives had words for wolf shows how widespread California wolves were historically. Almost all of the 80 different languages spoken in California at the time of European arrival had different words for wolf, coyote, fox, and dog. The Wiyot in Humboldt Bay had
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