A new pack of gray wolves has been confirmed in California’s southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, the farthest south a pack has been detected in the state in over a century.
Discovery Details: California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the discovery of the new wolf pack on Friday.
* The department had received reports of wolf sightings in July in Sequoia National Forest.
* Through tracks, scat and hair analysis, it was confirmed that 12 samples came from the gray wolves, indicating the presence of a new pack with at least five female wolves not previously detected in California.
Historical Context: Gray wolves were once widespread across North America but were driven out of most of the continent in the early 1900s.
* One wolf from the new pack is a direct descendant of OR7, a wolf that crossed into California in 2011, becoming the first to do so in nearly a century.
* This marks a slow comeback for wolves in many western states, including California, which now has at least three confirmed packs, mostly in the state’s far north.
Protection Status: Despite their gradual re-emergence, wolves remain under federal protection provided by the Endangered Species Act.
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