Born Free USA Blog
You know you’re really in trouble when it’s actually written into law. Well, the California wildlife agency is really in trouble.
If you browse the California statutes (written, codified laws), you’ll see several laws clearly stating that the California Department of Fish & Game is underfunded, financially stressed, and unable to carry out its mission. This is sad (but not surprising) news to those of us who advocate for wildlife protection laws and who care about the plight of wild animals.
Here at Born Free USA, we’ve long recognized that the Department of Fish & Game is failing to fulfill its duty as the public trustee for the state’s wildlife. We’ve successfully sued the agency several times to force them to do this very thing. But we’re also aware that no circumstance exists in a vacuum.
The current state budget crisis has spotlighted the lack of resources at the Fish & Game department, and spurred interest by the California Assembly Budget Committee in reorganizing this agency, along with other state agencies, as part of the budget solution. While we’re in the earliest stages of this process, discussion is occurring now to possibly eliminate the agency altogether and combine its work with the department of natural resources and the state fire agency.
If this reorganization translates into less duplication of state agency efforts, less of a reliance on hunters and trappers to fund the agency through their license fees, more of a focus by the agency on all wildlife instead of just expending effort and resources on the “game” animals, and therefore more effective protection of wildlife — then things would come right with the world, at least here in our corner of the wild west.