An entire gray wolf pack now roaming Northern California

shasta-wolf-pack-dfw.jpgDepartment of Fish and Wildlife photo

Trail cameras have picked up a pack of two adult gray wolves with five pups in Siskiyou County — the first resident gray wolves in the state in decades, if that's what they are. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is calling these wolves the Shasta Pack.

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

Cameras spotted an adult wolf a few months in Siskiyou County and at the time wildlife experts assumed it was another visiting wolf from Oregon, like OR-7. The latest pictures remind that there's a lot we don't know out there.

From Fish and Wildlife:

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.

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