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By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  2017 gray wolf litter, courtesy Calif. Department of Fish and Wildlife

July 31, 2019 (Lassen) – Like the grizzly bear, wolves were exterminated from Califiornia in the 1920s. But now they are making a comeback.

In the past several years, wolves have crossed into northern California from Oregon—and several litters of wolf pups have been born.  In 2014, gray wolves received endangered species protection status from the state of California.

A pack in Lassen County recently had pups for the third year in a row.  The pack’s female has been found to be related to a Wyoming wolf pack and not closely related to the male wolf from Oregon.  This year’s pack has three wolves, following litters of five pups and four pups the last two years.

“It’s incredibly exciting to learn the Lassen wolf pack has had a litter of pups,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate of the Center for Biological Diversity. “For the third year in a row, California’s only existing wolf pack has produced hope for a future with wolves on the landscape. Now we need more wolves to come into California so when these pups grow up, they can find mates and have pups of their own.”

Wolves have been spotted in several other counties, including some not part of the Lassen pack.

Radio collars on some  wolves show that they are widely traveled. One female wolf was found to have traveled over 1,100 miles through nine different northern California counties. Trail cameras have also been useful in documenting wolves in our state.

Not al of the wolves seen in recent years have survived.  One was found dead after killing a calf, though it is now illegal to kill a wolf in California. Ranchers are encouraged to use specially trained dogs to protect herds of cattle, sheep or other livestock from wolves and other predators.

The public is encouraged to report wolf sightings at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/Sighting-Report.

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