YREKA, Calif. (AP) — State wildlife officials said Monday they believe a gray wolf has been roaming the wilds of Northern California.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said one of several cameras set up in Siskiyou County captured an image in May of what may have been a wolf but that DNA testing on feces collected in the area was inconclusive.
Official set up remote trail cameras after receiving reports earlier this year of a large, dark-colored canid, an animal from the family that includes wolves, foxes, coyotes, jackals and dogs.
State biologists believe the lone animal is a gray wolf based on the images and tracks found by biologists in June, the department said.
If they confirm the animal is a gray wolf, it would be the first time in more than a year that a wolf has been sighted in California.
The last wolf sighting was the OR7, a wolf that carries a tracking device and was made famous after several trips into California from Oregon. Officials say OR7 has started his own pack in Oregon’s southern Cascades, not far from the California border.
“The presence of this second-known wolf in California is a source of hope and excitement for the recovery of the species, not just in the state, but across America,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.