Eleven new gray wolf pups are roaming the wilds of California this summer. Two of three established wolf packs have grown. Five were born into the Lassen Pack and six into the Whaleback Pack.
The Lassen Pack, first designated in 2017, has delivered its sixth consecutive litter. All totaled, the pack has produced at least thirty-two wolves. After surviving the Dixie Fire last year, where a large part of their territory in the Northern Sierras burned, the family now consists of at least a dozen wolves.
The current matriarch of the Lassen pack, LAS09F, was captured and fitted with a collar in 2020. She is the four-year old daughter of the pack’s original breeding female. Her mate, which began traveling with the pack in 2019, is not related to other wolves in California and his origin is unknown.
This is the second successive litter for the Whaleback Pack, which was confirmed as a family just last year. Together the pack has produced at least thirteen pups. Their home range covers nearly 500 square miles in eastern Siskiyou County. The Whaleback wolf family now consists of at least thirteen wolves.
The matriarch of the Whaleback Pack is likely a daughter of the famous OR7 born out of the Rogue Pack in Southern Oregon. Dispersing from the Mount Emily Pack in Oregon, her mate, OR85, was captured and collared in February 2020. He then dispersed south and entered California in November.
The Beckwourth Pack was discovered in May last year when three wolves were photographed by trail camera in southern Plumas County. One of the wolves, LAS12F, is a three-year old female that dispersed from her Lassen family. Seasonal field work has not yet been conducted this year to confirm wolf presence or pups.