Oakland Zoo is committed to protecting the return of the Gray Wolf through innovative solutions to wolf-livestock conflict and collaborative community programs that help people successfully share the landscape with this iconic species.
Imagine listening to the sound of a wolf howl in the California wilderness! Even though Gray Wolves are native to California, their howl was silenced in the 1920’s—when the species was eradicated from the Golden State. Hunters killed off wolf packs to control predation on other animals. In 2011, thanks to the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf in neighboring states, a lone Gray Wolf, OR-19, migrated into California from Oregon. Since then, two packs of wolves (as of 2021) are being monitored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the State. Mortality, due to human-wildlife conflict, is still the number one cause of death for this endangered animal. In order for the Gray Wolf to thrive once again in our state, human tolerance, partnerships with wildlife agencies, and a deeper understanding of wolves, needs to continue.
Wolves were exterminated in much of their historic range in North America because of people’s fear that they would prey on livestock. 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, understandably 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 encounter unsecured food, garbage, pets, and things that adversely affect their natural behavior. Auto accidents involving wolves also pose a threat to the species.
Wolves need large territorial areas 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 and ongoing development also puts pressure on wild spaces and wildlife.
Oakland Zoo supports the mission of Working Circle, a non-profit organization that unites the values and views of rural and urban communities around sustainable ranching and large predator conservation. Through an annual partnership grant, Oakland Zoo supports Range Stewards who work directly with ranchers to reduce vulnerability in cattle and prevent predation. The zoo also supports the California Wolf Center through exhibit design, animal management programs, workshops that increase understanding for shared landscapes.
Oakland Zoo provides yearly professional development training for field partners, offering them a myriad of staff skills and resources to enhance conservation efforts.
Oakland Zoo’s Gift Shop helps support Oakland Zoo’s conservation commitment to wolves through the “Round Up for Wolves” program, offering guests the opportunity to “round up” their purchase fee to save Gray Wolves.
Oakland Zoo shares conservation issues facing Gray Wolves and empowering solutions to conserve them to the public through a variety of channels: Docents and Volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, Education Programs, Events, Exhibits, Campaigns, Keeper Talks, and media stories.
Our male wolf, Sequoia, is from the California Wolf Center and our female wolf, Siskiyou, came from a conservation facility in Montana. In 2019, four wolf pups were born, creating a healthy and thriving pack at Oakland Zoo.
California Wolf Center and Working Circle are 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.
CHOOSE to Round Up for Wolves when you shop at the Oakland Zoo Gift Shop.
PURCHASE Predator Friendly Beef from Mt. Shasta Wild in our Gift Shop and support ranches that are sustainable and in collaboration with wolf conservation.
EXPERIENCE Range Riding yourself with Mt. Shasta Wild.
PROTECT your own property and keep it predator safe.
VISIT the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA (near San Diego).
DONATE to Oakland Zoo and work to conserve Grey Wolves.