Two Years Later, California Wolf Killing Remains Filled With Controversy

The Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Sabalow wrote a really interesting piece about the aftermath and investigation of a still unsolved killing of a wolf in Modoc County, which has prompted a long search and a lots of controversy over a suspect who investigators thought was their man. Here’s more from the Bee:

During the raid, the wardens seized just one gun, a .223 rifle, with a caliber that was the same as the bullet found in the wolf’s carcass. They took two unfired .223 rounds, Gagnon’s phone and his computer. 

Gagnon was possibly facing jail time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines for killing a wolf protected under state and federal endangered species laws. 

But the investigation began to unravel. 

During an interrogation, Gagnon insisted he didn’t kill the wolf, though his family — like so many in this part of the state — has no love for the predators that began to move back into far Northern California nine years ago.
Read more here:

The story is a intriguing look at ranchers’ perceptions about the state’s growing population of wolves after decades of no wolf sightings in California. In other parts of the West, the ranchers vs. wolves feud – the latter seen as savage murders upon the former’s livestock – has been contentious for years.

But there is some hope elsewhere.