New Gray Wolf Pack Found in California

State hasn't spotted a pack so far south in more than a century
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2023 3:25 PM CDT
New Gray Wolf Pack Found in California
A male grey wolf leads his four pups to explore their habitat at the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, Calif., in 2019.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

A previously unknown pack of gray wolves has been spotted in California, wildlife officials announced Friday. The pack was identified in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 200 miles from the closest known pack and the farthest south a pack of wolves has been detected in the state in more than a century, NPR reports. The first sighting was reported last month in the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County, per KOVR. The state's Department of Fish and Wildlife then began investigating.

Teams found tracks, scat, and hair in the area, and DNA analysis showed that all 12 samples collected were from gray wolves. The pack includes at least five wolves that had not been detected in the state, the analysis showed: an adult female and her four offspring—two males and two females, per KVPR. There was no sign of an adult male in the pack, per the AP. One of the wolves is a direct descendant of OR7, the first wolf known to have crossed from Oregon into California and returned. Once back in Oregon, it formed the Rogue Pack, per the California agency.

Gray wolves are native to California and are protected there by the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. They once roamed most of North America but were largely hunted, trapped and driven out of the continental US by early in the 20th century. Their population has been rebounding slowly in western states; California has reported confirmation of at least three packs in the state's far north. (More gray wolf stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.