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Hooray! Wolves return to California!

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In January, March, and December of 2012, I reported in this Blog that a male, Gray “Lone Wolf” tagged with a GPS collar and designated OR-7 in Oregon, had crossed into California, apparently in search of a mate. At that time, he was the ONLY known wolf in California, the rest of his species had been killed. At the time, his odds didn’t look too good. :-)

The Lone Wolf apparently “got lucky!” OR-7 (named because he was the 7th wolf tagged with a tracking device in Oregon) first entered California in 2011, the first wolf to do so in almost 90 years, and he skirted the border for years. Last spring, a remote camera in Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest detected at least TWO puppies suspected to be offspring of OR-7.

TODAY we have an update concerning gray wolves in California! According to

State wildlife officials on Thursday released photos of five wolf pups with several adults in a grassy area in the forests of Northern California, a sign that the endangered species may be making a comeback in the Golden State.

The wolves — dubbed the Shasta Pack — were caught sighted after a possible lone wolf was seen in May, and other signs showed wolves might be taking up residence in California after nearly being hunted and trapped into extinction a century ago.

“This is an entirely new wolf pack. Nobody even knew it existed,” said Andrew Wetzler, director of wildlife program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Wetzler called the California pack, which he assumes includes a breeding pair of adults, “incredibly big news,” even bigger than when OR-7 first entered California. “It means the wolves have officially recolonized the Golden State,” he said.

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton Bonham, the director of the state wildlife department, in a statement. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife set up several remote trail cameras in southeastern Siskiyou County that captured images of adult wolves and pups that appear to be just a few months old!

In June, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list the predator under the California Endangered Species Act, which went against the recommendation of state wildlife officials.

The state Wildlife Department contended that scientific evidence supported some protections for the wolf, but not a full listing. The recommendation also said there was no reason to list them because there weren’t any wolves in California to protect.

As in so many things, the human beings were wrong. Imagine that.

-Bill at

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