When Vic and I were growing up, wolves had been extirpated from the lower 48 states and the California sea otter was thought to be essentially extinct.
The last gray wolf in California was killed in Lassen County in 1924. Gray wolves were hunted mercilessly during the early part of the 20th century, and were extirpated from the lower 48 states by 1926.
The list of animals in trouble in California went on. The last jaguar in California was killed in the Palm Springs area in 1860, but the species held on in Arizona until 1969. Tule elk were down to a herd of fewer than 100 by 1873. And pronghorn, once numerous in California, were extirpated by the end of the 1800s.
Grizzly bears used to roam our coast and local mountains. But the last local grizzly was killed in Trabuco Canyon in 1908, and the last grizzly in the state of California was killed in Tulare County in 1922. And yet its image is on our state flag.