California 'Amazed' to Find Wolf Pack in State

Wolves are returning home after being hunted nearly to extinction
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2015 11:28 AM CDT
California 'Amazed' to Find Wolf Pack in State
Five wolf pups photographed in Northern California are part of the first wolf pack in the state in nearly a century.   (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

It's the summer of the wolf pack in California, and no we're not talking about another Hangover sequel. A family of gray wolves—two adults and five pups—were yesterday confirmed to be living in the state. The last time the state hosted a pack was the early 1920s, after which the animals were completely eradicated from California, the Los Angeles Times reports. Biologists first got wind of the so-called Shasta Pack, currently roaming remote Siskiyou County near Mount Shasta, in May and June when trail cameras photographed an apparent adult wolf; biologists then found wolf feces and photographed the five pups in recent weeks. The Shasta Pack joins 31 wolf packs in Washington and Oregon and another 282 in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Biologists suspected the wolves to the north would make their way into the state, but found themselves "really excited if not amazed" at how quickly that happened, per a Department of Fish and Wildlife official. "They have beat us to the punch." Not everyone shares the excitement, the Sacramento Bee reports. Hunters and ranchers, who opposed the 2014 addition of gray wolves to the state's endangered species list, worry the animals will eat elk, deer, and livestock. The state is currently hustling to finish its plan on how to manage the animals, a plan it didn't think it would need quite so soon. According to the Bee, the plan was started after a lone male gray wolf, OR7, in 2011 became the first wolf spotted in California since 1924. He's since returned to Oregon. (More wolves stories.)

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