August 23, 2015
KCRA reports that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has evidence that five gray wolf pups and two adults have been located in Northern California, and have released photographs to national organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife. The pups appear to be between three-and-four months old, weighing about 40 pounds. This is the first pack who appear to have established residency in California since 1924, when they were thought to be extinct. This pack was recently located in Siskiyou County, California, and have been named the ‘Shasta Pack’ for nearby Mount Shasta.
News of the family has thrilled many, including the President of Defenders of Wildlife, Jamie Rappaport Clark and Amaroq Weiss, of the conservation group Center for Biological Diversity. The grey wolf is federally protected, listed on the state and federal endangered species list, so no one can legally hunt and kill them. OnEarth reports that motion-triggered cameras first captured a lone wolf in that county back in May and again in July.
A 2013 poll of residents in California, Oregon and Washington showed that voters were in favor of restoring wolves to suitable habitats in those states, by a margin of up to 71%. Defenders of Wildlife released this statement, “We have been given a second chance to restore this iconic species to a landscape they had been missing from for nearly one hundred years.” Other organizations are concerned that, once hunting season begins, though it would be illegal, somehow the heads of this little family will end up as a trophy on someone’s wall.
CDFW is aware that local ranchers may have concerns, since wolves tend to eat sheep and cattle, but added that wolves are “out in the wild and tend to want to stay as far away from humans as they can.” There are at least 5,500 gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.