It’s a wolf pack success story caught on camera.
An adult female, a yearling and three pups are wandering through a forest in Lassen County, California. They stop to eat, lay down, howl and yip.
This is one of California’s only known wolf packs, perhaps only pack, after the species was wiped off the map in the state almost 100 years ago.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s spring wolf management update says camera data counts at least five adult and yearling wolves traveling together during the winter, and pack’s breeding female, known as LAS01F, whelped around April 15.
“At this time, it is estimated that the Lassen pack consists of a minimum of two to three adults/yearlings and three pups,” the department says.
The June 18 video of the pack, which was only posted this week to social media, is incredible.
The department and the USDA Wildlife Services spent nine days that month June trapping to radio collar wolves in the Lassen Pack to learn more about them.
But efforts have so far been unsuccessful.
“The purpose of collaring gray wolves is to understand some key biological parameters such as habitat use, prey preferences and reproduction, as well as to potentially minimize wolf-livestock conflicts,” Karen Kovacs, a CDFW Wildlife Program Manager who has studied the wolves, explained in an update in 2016.
The last known wolf in California was killed in Lassen County in 1924.
That was back when many believed the only good wolf, was a dead wolf. Farmers and ranchers saw wolves as predators.
Their return was slow.
A gray wolf with a radio collar crossed into the state from Oregon in December, 2011.
Gray wolves in California are protected as endangered under both California and federal Endangered Species Acts. But the state has no plans to reintroduce the species.
Instead it has a monitoring and conservation plan.
Now, California asks people to report any wolf sightings.