California Gray Wolf Update 2018
The Lassen Pack has grown! Up to five pups, two confirmed, were born this spring. The wolf family now includes the new puppies, three yearlings and the alpha pair. The pair was first spotted traveling together in 2016. The alpha male (CA08M) is now four years old. He is the son of famous OR-7 of the Rouge Pack. Genetics of the alpha female (LAS01F) indicate she may have traveled from Idaho. In June 2017 she was captured and fit with a GPS collar weighing in at seventy-five pounds. Surveys for the pup count are ongoing.
California’s first wolf pack, the seven-member all black Shasta Pack was established in Siskiyou County in 2015. Later that year, the pack seemed to have vanished and it was thought they had all been illegally killed. That is until May 2016, when a yearling male (CA07M) was detected near several pup-rearing sites the pack had used in 2015. In November of 2016, the young wolf was then spotted just west of the Black Rock Desert. He was the first confirmed wolf in Nevada since 1922. It is suspected that he is the lone black wolf that’s been observed within the Lassen Pack territory.
While the Rogue Pack territory is in southern Oregon, it deserves an honorable mention. The nine-year old alpha male, OR-7 was born into the Imnaha Pack in 2009. He was the first confirmed wolf in the Golden State in nearly 100 years. In 2011 and 2013 he roamed over 4000 miles before eventually finding a mate and establishing a territory in 2013. The Rouge Pack has had successful litters for four years in a row; at least four of his progeny have been detected in California this year and last.
OR 54 of the Rogue Pack
In January and February, another of OR-7’s daughters, OR-54 traveled over 500 miles through four California counties before returning to her pack. She covered much of the same ground her famous father did from 2011 to 2013. She roamed back to California April 15 and by the end of June she traveled through Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Plumas, Sierra, and Nevada counties, covering nearly 750 miles in 76 days. OR-54 is now only two-years old and she weighed 83 pounds when she was collared in October 2017. In June, she was spotted a mile away from Interstate 80 just north of Lake Tahoe.
OR-44 entered California this year in March. He is a two-year old male that dispersed from northeastern Oregon’s Chesnimnus Pack in fall 2017. The battery on his radio collar is no longer working. Between March and the end of May the young male wolf traveled a minimum of 450 miles between Siskiyou and Del Norte Counties.
There is evidence of other dispersing wolves currently roaming the golden state. Gray wolves in California are listed under both the federal and state Endangered Species Act. Recovery of canis lupis will greatly depend on the ability of people to accept living with wolves.