California Has its First Wolf Pack After Nearly a Century

Wolf advocates are celebrating big news with the confirmation that California has become home to its first official pack for the first time in almost 100 years.

Officials from the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) confirmed there are now two adult wolves and five pups living in Northern California. They’ve been designated the Shasta Pack.

Just weeks ago, the agency confirmed a sighting of a lone wolf who was captured in images by a remote trail camera set up in southeastern Siskiyou County. After the sighting, more cameras were set up, which caught the adults and pups who are believed to be about four months old.

wolf-pups-jpg                                                          Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton Bonham, director of the CDFW, in a statement. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state, and it appears now is the time.”

wolf-1-1                                                         Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The news is definitely big for wolves and for those who have been pushing for them to return to their historic range. The first confirmed wolf to make its way the state since the last one was killed in 1924 was the now infamous 0R-7, who appeared in 2011.

He’s since returned home to Oregon and has settled down and started his own family. But his appearance helped clear the way for others to safely follow. In an effort to prepare for their eventual return, last year the the California Fish and Game Commission voted to protect gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to harm, harass or kill wolves in the state – who are also still federally protected.

The latest sighting also couldn’t have come at a better time either, as the CDFW is preparing to release its wolf management plan for public comment, giving those who want to see wolves return to California’s landscape a chance to weigh in on their future there. Opposition to their presence is being made known by the hunting and ranching community, so now is the time to grow the conversation about how we can coexist with wolves as they establish territories in their rightful place in the wild.

wolf-2                                                        Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

According to the CDFW, they will be working to revise the plan to reflect the pack’s arrival before releasing it for public comment, while the agency has meanwhile declined to share their exact location in an effort to protect them from both people who are curious and anyone who might intend to harm them.

The confirmation of California’s new wolf family also coincides with news that another lone wolf was spotted in the Black Hills in South Dakota. Unfortunately for these lone wanderers, like we saw with the Grand Canyon’s lone wolf Echo, who was shot and killed, without enough awareness about their presence, they’re far easier to kill by hunters who claim they mistook them for coyotes.

California’s wolves are at least black, making that a poor excuse. But others trying to disperse might not be so lucky. Following the sighting in South Dakota the Center for Biological Diversity called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to increase public education about the difference between wolves and coyotes and highlight the fact that they are protected as endangered species under federal law. Unfortunately, as of last week, the agency declined to do anything.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

Kick all the "private landowners" and ranchers off the land. They have no rights to wilderness

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

jessica r.
jessica r3 years ago

Great news, not only for those of us who advocate for wolves but also for the ecosystem as a whole. We need those apex predators.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

As much as I love hearing this news, I hate for the information to become public.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


pam w.
pam w3 years ago

Predators shouldn't BE ''fat.''

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago

Great! Thank you for sharing. But the wolves in the pictures are not too fat.

federico bortoletto

Grande notizia!!

Philip Watling
Philip Watling3 years ago

Wonderful news :)

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson3 years ago

YES! this is fantastic news.