It has been almost a century since a wolf pack was spotted in California.
Now, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has captured photos of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California. The group is now called the “Shasta Pack.”
“This news is exciting for California,” Charlton H. Bonham, the CDFW’s director, said in a statement. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”
Trail cameras snapped images of lone wolf in May and July. That prompted officials to set up more cameras. Those took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old. They also snapped images of individual adults. Officials figure the lone adult spotted initially is connected with the group of pups.
Gray wolves once roamed California, but were extirpated.
A wolf catalogued at OR7 wandered into the state in December, 2011, but hasn’t been reported in California for more than a year. He is believed to be a breeding male of the “Rogue Pack” in southern Oregon. So, the last confirmed wolf living in California was in 1924.
Last year, gray wolves were officially listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. It’s also listed as endangered under under the Federal Endangered Species Act. It means it’s illegal to hunt or bother the species in California. And, the CDFW is putting the finishing touches – including inclusion of the Shasta Pack – to its wolf management plan that will be released soon.
Meanwhile, officials urge the public to report wolf sightings.