California Wolf Center

Conservation in North America

About the Organization

Imagine hearing the sound of a wolf howl in California’s wilderness! Wolves were eradicated in the Golden State by humans almost a century ago, but now they are moving back into their historic range. Human-caused mortality is still the number one cause of death for wolves; therefore, human tolerance for sharing the landscape with this iconic species is critical to ensuring their long-term survival here.

The California Wolf Center is leading the way to welcome wolves back home, by providing innovative solutions to wolf-livestock conflicts, and education programs that help people successfully share the landscape with this iconic species.

The Conservation Challenge

Human-Wildlife Conflict

Wolves were exterminated in much of their historic range in North America because of people’s fear that they would prey on livestock. Archaic stereotypes of the “big bad wolf” continue to influence perceptions of this species - despite being at odds with actual wolf behavior. As wolves have started ranging back into Northern California and establishing territories here, many farmers and ranchers still have concerns about livestock predation. Wolves can also come into conflict with humans when they enter rural and suburban communities where they can encounter pets, garbage, and other things that adversely affect their natural behavior. Other types of human activities also pose a threat to wolves, including injuries and fatalities caused by cars.
Habitat Loss
Wolves need large territorial areas in order to thrive - something that poses a challenge in California, where our wild spaces exist side by side with agricultural and urban areas. California’s large human population also puts pressure on wild spaces and wildlife.

Conservation Approach

Helping People Share the Landscape with Wolves

The California Wolf Center is partnering with stakeholders including the agricultural community to create a California Wolf Recovery and Management Plan, implementing proactive solutions that will enable wolves and people to successfully co-exist as wolves repopulate their historic range in our state. The project’s solutions in the field include funding, training and implementing practices that save the lives of wolves in the wild, including the use of non-lethal control methods such as radio-activated guard boxes, deterrent flags, and livestock guardian dogs to deter livestock predation and encourage wolves to establish home ranges away from agricultural areas. A crucial aspect of the project’s mission is working to ensure that wolves have legal protection in California and can peacefully return to wild areas.

Research and Education
The California Wolf Center is increasing awareness and understanding of wolves through engaging education programs, public outreach, and research to study wolves’ biology, behavior and history in California. By learning factual information about wolves, people can understand how this highly social and intelligent animal plays a key role in the functioning of a healthy ecosystem. In addition to their work with training and education programs throughout the state, the California Wolf Center is also actively involved in working to restore endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wild. Their conservation center in Julian provides educational programs and hosts both ambassador wolves and individual animals that can potentially be released into the wild.

Oakland Zoo Takes Action

The Zoo has fully embraced the efforts of the California Wolf Center.

Quarters for Conservation
Oakland Zoo selected the California Wolf Center as a 2015-2016 featured project, raising funds to benefit their work on behalf of wild wolves in our state.
Outreach and Education
Oakland Zoo aims to use our immense access to the public to help wildlife. We are enthusiastic about the return of wolves to California, and share information about this charismatic species - as well as what people can do to help them - with our guests.
California Trail
Oakland Zoo’s upcoming California Trail will include gray wolves, alongside other native Californian species. Conservation education will be an important component of the California Trail.

You Can Take Action Too

  • Email Amy Gotliffe to donate to Oakland Zoo’s funding efforts for the California Wolf Center.
  • Visit the California Wolf Center's website to learn more about wolf conservation, or visit their southern California center in Julian (near San Diego):
  • Follow the California Wolf Center on Facebook to stay current on wolf legislation in our state, and support laws protecting wild wolves throughout the United States:
  • Learn more about wolves and the important role that predator species play in their environment. A good place to start is by researching the term “trophic cascades,” which refers to the ways that the presence of apex predators positively affects other animals and plants.
  • Use resources from Oakland Zoo and the California Wolf Center to learn the truth about wolves, rather than the myths - and share what you have learned with others!

P.O. Box 5238

9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605