First Wolf Pack in Nearly a Century Spotted in California

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A gray wolf pack has established itself in Northern California, state wildlife officials confirmed last week – the first family of wolves known in the state in nearly 100 years. The state’s very last known wolf, until now, was killed in 1924.

The group, which consists of two adult black-furred gray wolves and five 4-month-old pups, will be known as the Shasta Pack.

The announcement came after trail cameras in remote Siskiyou County captured a series of photographs in May and June of what appeared to be a wolf. Biologists retrieved scat samples and placed more cameras in the area, hoping for a better look.

On August 9, the cameras photographed two separate black-furred wolves, believed to be adults. Five black wolf pups were photographed in the same spot, proving that it was clearly a pack.


Photo Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife via BBC

State wildlife authorities added gray wolves to California’s endangered species list last year, even though no wolves were known to be in the state. Officials said they anticipated that wolves that were beginning to establish in Oregon would eventually find their way into California’s northern counties, though they didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

Eric Loft, chief of the Wildlife Branch of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, exclaimed, “We were really excited if not amazed” at how rapidly wolves have reappeared in Northern California, adding, “They have beat us to the punch.”

Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was an amazing accomplishment for wolves to establish in Northern California just 21 years after wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies.