On August 11, 2023, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that a new pack of gray wolves (Canis lupus) has been confirmed within Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County, CA! Located at least 200 miles from the next nearest known pack (the Beckwourth Pack in southern Plumas County), this is the furthest south gray wolves have been documented in California in more than a century. The presence of these wolves speaks to the species’ resilience and the potential of landscape-level habitat connectivity throughout the state.
After CDFW received numerous wolf sighting reports in July, the agency investigated and found wolf tracks, scat, hair, and other signs of gray wolves. DNA analysis of scat and hair samples revealed that there are at least five wolves in the new pack: the breeding female and four offspring (two females and two males). The breeding female is the offspring of OR-7, aka Journey, the first gray wolf documented in California after the species’ 87-year absence since 1924 who went on to establish the Rogue Pack in southwestern Oregon. Although no samples from the breeding male were found, analysis of pup scat showed that he is a descendant of northeast California’s Lassen Pack.
This group marks the third new group confirmed this year, and the seventh gray wolf pack to establish in California since 2011, nearly a century after the species’ extinction from its native home range throughout the state. Click here to read more about the recovery of gray wolves in California.