A pack of gray wolves are now wandering the hills of Northern California for the first time since they were hunted to extinction in the state in the 1920s.
Two adults and five, four-month-old pups — dubbed the Shasta Pack (pictured above) — have been spotted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is thrilled by the news.
Wolves have made a strong comeback in the American West in recent years. Packs in Yellowstone National Park have thrived–and their presence has improved the local ecosystem–since being reintroduced there in 1995.
Only one other gray wolf, tagged as OR-7, has been seen in California since the 1920s. That lone wolf wandered into the state only briefly in 2012, before returning to Oregon and finding a mate.
Researchers don’t believe this new pack is descended from OR-7 (given that name because he was the seventh wolf tagged with a tracking collar in Oregon). They have gathered droppings from the Shasta Pack to test for DNA and find out where they came from.
California biologists are excited about their chances in California.
“These are very resilient critters,” Karen Kovacs with the Fish and Wildlife Department told the Los Angeles Times.
(READ more at the Los Angeles Times) — Photos: Fish and Wildlife Dept.
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