California wildlife officials are celebrating a new pack of gray wolves being spotted in the Sierra Nevada.
The pack was located in the Sequoia National Forest, in Tulare County, about 200 miles from any other known population of the endangered species.
Gray wolves were prevalent in California up until the 1920s. They were heavily hunted and eventually became extinct in the state. Over the past decade-plus, a few gray wolves have started migrating in from out-of-state packs.
Providing history, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reports, “In late 2011, OR7 crossed the state line to become the first wolf in nearly a century to make California part of his range before returning to Oregon to form the Rogue Pack.”
After spotting a possible gray wolf in the Sequoia National Forest last month, 12 scat and hair samples were collected in the area for genetic testing. All 12 samples were confirmed to be gray wolf.
CDFW reports that the new pack consists of at least five wolves, including an adult female who is a direct descendent of OR7, and four offspring (two females and two males).
Wolves are now protected under California’s Endangered Species Act and are federally protected in California under the federal Endangered Species Act. State officials stress that it is illegal to intentionally kill or harm wolves in the state.
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