California Confirms New Gray Wolf Pack in Sequoia National Forest

Wolf sighting leads to discovery of a new southernmost pack 200 miles from the nearest known pack.

California Confirms New Gray Wolf Pack in Sequoia National Forest

Photo: christels

California has a new gray wolf pack in Tulare County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed, the state’s southernmost pack that is at least 200 air miles from the nearest known northeastern pack. CDFW officials in July received a report about a wolf sighting in the Sequoia National Forest. The ensuing investigation revealed wolf tracks and other signs, including scat and hair samples.

After genetic testing of the samples, the CDFW’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory performed DNA analysis to determine if the samples were from a wolf, as well as sex, coat color, individual identity, relation to one another and pack origin. All 12 samples were confirmed to be from gray wolves.

The new pack consists of at least five individuals not previously detected in California. This includes one adult female that is a direct descendant of California’s first documented wolf in the state in recent history, (OR7), and four offspring (two females, two males). None of the samples collected came from an adult male. However, the genetic profile from the offspring indicates the breeding male is a descendant of the Lassen Pack.

Gray wolves are native to California but were extirpated in the state by the 1920s. In late 2011, OR7 crossed the state line to become the first wolf in nearly a century to make California part of its range before returning to Oregon to form the Rogue Pack.

Wolves are protected under California’s Endangered Species Act and are federally protected in California under the Federal Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to intentionally kill or harm wolves in the state.


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