Welcome California’s Second Pack
It wasn’t long ago that wolf OR-7 was first spotted in California. It’s been even more recent — two years — since Northern California had its first wolf pack confirmed since 1924. Then, last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) confirmed a second wolf pack living in Northern California.
The CDFW reported that not only has the new pack — the Lassen Pack — settled, it’s also having puppies.
Biologists with the CDFW captured a female gray wolf in Lassen County and fitted her with a tracking collar. Using the collar, they’ve been able to confirm the female and her mate have produced at least three puppies this year, according to the report.
Lassen County is about four hours northeast of Sacramento and two hours northwest of Reno, Nevada. Lassen County is also where the last native wolf was killed in 1924, the Associated Press reports.
This growing pack was first spotted in the summer and fall of 2016, when remote trail cameras captured images of two wolves traveling through Lassen County. The CDFW said there was no evidence of any pups at that time.
With more evidence growing throughout this year of wolf presence, the 75-pound female gray wolf was captured on June 30 by CDFW biologists after 12 days of trapping attempts. She was released following a thorough exam and being collared, the press release reports.
What about the first pack?
The Shasta pack was confirmed in August 2015 after California went nearly 100 years without a confirmed wolf pack. It was spotted in Siskiyou County near Mount Shasta — two and a half hours northeast of Lassen County. The confirmed pack came less than a month after a wolf was first spotted on trail cams. The current status of the Shasta Pack is unknown, CDFW reports, though one pup in November 2016 was detected in northwestern Nevada.
Where are these wolves coming from?
The easy answer is from the North (but not Canada). OR-7’s famous first trips in California were from Oregon. It’s reported he started his own pack in the state’s southern Cascades, which is just north of the California border.
The new pack is determined to be formerly part of Oregon’s Rogue Pack, based off samples of scat from the male.
The migration of wolves from Washington and Oregon into California is believed to be associated with wolves re-establishing themselves after being reintroduced to the Northern Rockies 22 years ago.
Featured image: CFDW