Sec­ond pack of gray wolves spot­ted in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

SAN FRAN­CISCO — A fe­male gray wolf, her mate and at least three pups are the sec­ond pack of wolves spot­ted in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia since the species went ex­tinct there in 1924, state wildlife of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day.

The pups were born this spring in Lassen Na­tional For­est to a fe­male wolf of un­known ori­gins. Her mate is the son of OR7, a wolf that was the first of its kind in al­most a cen­tury to mi­grate into Cal­i­for­nia from Ore­gon, the United States Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife said.

Bi­ol­o­gists be­gan sur­vey­ing the Lassen Na­tional For­est area in May af­ter they found ev­i­dence of wolf pres­ence.

On June 30, they cap­tured the 34-kilo­gram fe­male gray wolf and fit­ted her with a track­ing col­lar. An ex­am­i­na­tion re­vealed she had re­cently given birth to pups.

A day later, Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife bi­ol­o­gists re­turned to the area for a fol­low-up check on the fe­male and found that a nearby trail cam­era op­er­ated by the For­est Ser­vice had cap­tured photos of the mother and pups. The pups were also pho­tographed play­ing in front of the cam­era.

The wolves, named the Lassen Pack by the US For­est Ser­vice em­ployee who first de­tected their lo­ca­tion, are the sec­ond pack of gray wolves known to be in Cal­i­for­nia since they were killed off in the 1920s, of­fi­cials said.

The first con­firmed breed­ing pair in Cal­i­for­nia pro­duced five pups in Siskiyou County in 2015.

The fam­ily of seven gray wolves, known as the Shasta Pack, hasn’t been spot­ted since May 2016, although one of the pups was de­tected in north­west­ern Ne­vada in Novem­ber 2016, the depart­ment said.

State of­fi­cials in 2014 granted the wolf pro­tec­tions un­der the en­dan­gered species act, de­spite op­po­si­tion from hunt­ing and live­stock groups who fear the preda­tor will kill deer and valu­able cat­tle.

They are also listed as en­dan­gered by the fed­eral govern­ment.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A re­mote cam­era im­age re­leased by the US For­est Ser­vice shows a fe­male gray wolf and two of her three pups in Lassen Na­tional For­est in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

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