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Wolves were reintroduced in the West via Yellowstone National Park in 1995

By Alex Heigl
Updated August 21, 2015 09:55 AM
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Credit: Guy Edwardes/Getty

Brothers and sisters in the wolf pack of life, rejoice. Wildlife officials in California confirmed the first wolf pack in nearly 100 years has been discovered in remote Siskyou County. The pack, two adults and five pups, has been named the Shasta Pack.

Last year, wildlife officials added gray wolves to the state’s endangered species list. They were operating under the assumptions that Oregon’s wolf population would eventually migrate to California – at the time, no wolves were even known to exist in the state.

“We were really excited – if not amazed,” at the appearance of the wolves, Eric Loft, chief of the Wildlife Branch of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the Los Angeles Times. “They have beat us to the punch.”

Another F&W official, Karen Kovacs, said the new pack are likely related to OR7, a lone wolf who was documented roaming through Oregon and California in 2011. A male, OR7 was the first wolf confirmed in California since 1924.

Wolves were brought under federal protection in 1973 after their numbers dropped to near extinction levels thanks to hunting. Reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995, their return has been generally successful, though they only occupy about 10 percent of their former range.

Still, “These are very resilient critters,” Kovacs concluded.