Environment

New male and female wolves confirmed living in rural California

A remote trail camera captured this image of one of two gray wolves believed to be living in Lassen County.
A remote trail camera captured this image of one of two gray wolves believed to be living in Lassen County. Courtesy California Department of Fish and Wildlife

A new gray wolf couple appear to be courting in rural northeastern California.

State wildlife officials announced Wednesday that they’ve confirmed that the pair has been in Lassen County likely since late last year.

They caught the attention of wildlife officials after an animal that looked like a wolf was captured on motion-activated trail cameras in Lassen County last fall. In the months since, wildlife officials also received photographs, found tracks and received eyewitness sightings suggested that there were actually two wolves traveling together.

They began testing scat in the area to find out if it was from wolves and, if so, to use DNA to determine how many and where the animals originated.

The results came back recently.

The male wolf was born into the Rogue Pack of Southern Oregon in 2014 and most likely entered Lassen County in late 2015 or 2016, wildlife officials said. It’s not immediately clear from the DNA tests where the female came from. Wolves can travel hundreds of miles when they leave their packs in search of mates.

The founder of the Rogue Pack is the well-known gray wolf OR-7, who generated international interest when he became the first wild wolf in nearly a century to venture into Northern California. His arrival prompted state wildlife officials to grant wolves endangered species protections.

Wildlife officials say the Lassen family don’t appear to have had pups. Meanwhile, wildlife officials said recently they don’t have any new information on California’s first wolf family, dubbed the Shasta pack, the two adults with five pups that settled in Siskiyou County last year.

That pack hasn’t been sighted for months.

A wolf-like animal spotted on motion-activated trail cameras in Lassen County is the latest in northeastern California. Watch this video for updates on what happened to the other recent wolves spotted in California including the Shasta Pack and OR

Ryan Sabalow: 916-321-1264, @ryansabalow

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