Two adult wolves and five cubs were photographed in Siskiyou County, California in August 2015. These are the first known wolves in California since 1924 (with the exception of the famous wandering OR7, who wound up living in Southern Oregon).
Scientists are calling it an ecological breakthrough.
California Department of Fish & Wildlife Press Release:
After trail cameras recorded a lone canid in May and July, CDFW deployed additional cameras, one of which took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old and others showing individual adults. Because of the proximity to the original camera locations, it is likely the adult previously photographed in May and July is associated with the group of pups.
“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”
CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.
Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were extirpated. Aside from these wolves and the famous wolf OR7 who entered California in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in the state was here in 1924. OR7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.
In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.
CDFW is completing a Draft Wolf Management Plan and will release it soon. Throughout the plan’s development, CDFW has held numerous meetings with stakeholders. Currently, CDFW is incorporating comments from a stakeholder advisory group, and considering revisions due to implications of this news, before releasing the draft plan to the general public. Public meetings will be scheduled to receive public comment on the draft plan.
In addition to the trail cameras, CDFW relies on help from the public to glean information about wolves in California. The public can report wolf sightings on CDFW gray wolf website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/Sighting-Report.
Though wolves rarely pose a direct threat to human safety, CDFW recommends that people never approach, feed or otherwise disturb a wolf. For more information about staying safe in wolf-occupied areas, including what people should do if they encounter a wolf, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/FAQ.
ABOUT GREY WOLVES:
The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus[a]), also known as the timber wolf or western wolf,[b] is a canid native to the wilderness and remote areas ofEurasia and North America. It is the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb).Like the red wolf, it is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur. As of 2005, 37 subspecies ofC. lupus are recognised by MSW3.
The gray wolf is the second most specialised member of the genus Canis, after the Ethiopian wolf, as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature, and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is nonetheless closely related enough to smallerCanis species, such as the eastern wolf, coyote, and golden jackal to produce fertile hybrids. It is the only species of Canis to have a range encompassing both the Old and New Worlds, and originated in Eurasia during the Pleistocene, colonizing North America on at least three separate occasions during the Rancholabrean. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair’s adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage.
The gray wolf is one of the world’s best known and well researched animals, with probably more books written about it than any other wildlife species. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most pastoral communities because of its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected in some agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies. Although the fear of wolves is pervasive in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is rare, as wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have developed a fear of humans from hunters and shepherds. – WIKIPEDIA