Tag Archives: wolf

CDFW Confirms Presence of Wolf Pack in Lassen County, Collars Adult Wolf

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists have captured and fitted a tracking collar to a female gray wolf in Lassen County, and confirmed that the wolf and her mate have produced at least three pups this year.

During summer and fall 2016, remote trail cameras captured images of two wolves traveling together in Lassen County. There was no evidence they had produced pups at that time. While the female’s origins remain unknown, genetic samples obtained from scat indicated the male wolf originated from Oregon’s Rogue Pack. The famous wolf OR7 is the Rogue Pack’s breeding male.

In early May 2017, partner biologists from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) found evidence of recent wolf presence in the Lassen National Forest. CDFW biologists began surveying the area and planning a capture operation to collar one of the animals. On June 30, after 12 days of trapping attempts, the 75-pound adult female gray wolf was captured. After a thorough exam by the biologists and a wildlife veterinarian – including the collection of genetic and other biological samples – the wolf was collared and released.

“The anesthesia and collaring process went smoothly and the wolf was in excellent condition,” said CDFW’s Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford. “Furthermore, our physical examination indicated that she had given birth to pups this spring.”

The following day, July 1, CDFW biologists returned to the field for a routine follow-up check on the female. They encountered tracks of what appeared to be wolf pups, and then found that a nearby trail camera operated by USFS had captured photos of the female with three pups. The pups were gray in color and were serendipitously photographed playing in front of the camera.

These wolves, named the Lassen Pack by the USFS employee who first detected their location, are the second pack of gray wolves known in California since their extirpation in the 1920s. The first confirmed breeding pair in California produced five pups in eastern Siskiyou County in 2015, and are known as the Shasta Pack. The current status of the Shasta Pack is unknown, although one of the 2015 pups was detected in northwestern Nevada in November 2016.

The tracking collar affixed to the Lassen Pack female will collect data relative to her activity patterns, survival, reproduction and prey preferences. The Lassen Pack regularly traverses both public and private lands, including industrial timberlands, and the collar may also help to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts by providing information about the pack’s location relative to livestock and ranch lands. While most of the pack’s known activity to date has been in western Lassen County, some tracks have also been confirmed in Plumas County.

Gray wolves are currently both state and federally listed as endangered. Their management in California is guided by endangered species laws as well as CDFW’s Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California, finalized in 2016. CDFW’s goals for wolf management in California include conserving wolves and minimizing impacts to livestock producers and native ungulates.

The Conservation Plan, a wolf sighting report form, a guide to help distinguish a gray wolf from a coyote and additional information about wolves in California can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf.

Photos courtesy of USFS.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

Two Gray Wolves Confirmed Present in Lassen County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed the presence of two gray wolves in western Lassen County.

After a wolf-like canid was photographed by trail cameras in Lassen County in fall 2015 and spring 2016, CDFW began operating additional trail cameras in the area and regularly searching for wolf scat and tracks. This summer, photographs, tracks and eyewitness sightings suggested the presence of two canids frequently traveling together.

Numerous scat samples were collected by CDFW scientists and submitted to the University of Idaho’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics. Genetic analysis of the samples confirmed the presence of a male and a female gray wolf.  There is no current evidence — such as trail camera images, tracks, scat or reported observations — suggesting the wolves produced pups this year.

Analysis of scat indicates that the male wolf was born into the Rogue Pack in 2014, and most likely dispersed to Lassen County in late 2015 or 2016. The founder of the Rogue Pack is the well-known gray wolf OR7 (collared in Oregon by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) who dispersed from northeast Oregon and traveled around northern California in 2011 and 2012 before eventually finding a mate and establishing a territory in southern Oregon in 2013.

The DNA of the female wolf does not match that of any known individual wolves from Oregon, and initial analyses indicates she is not a close relative of current Oregon wolves. Dispersing wolves have commonly been documented to travel great distances, and it is possible that she dispersed from another western state. The collection of higher-quality genetic samples may eventually lead to a better understanding of her origin.

Gray wolves were eliminated from California more than 100 years ago, until the return of OR7 in 2011. In May and July 2015, a trail camera in Siskiyou County captured images of a single adult, black wolf. Additional cameras were placed in the vicinity and in August 2015 images of two separate adult black wolves and five pups were captured. CDFW designated these animals the Shasta Pack. Until confirmation of the pair of wolves in Lassen County, these were the only wolves known to occur in California.

According to strategies identified within CDFW’s draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California, CDFW will continue to assess and monitor gray wolves in California. If the pair documented in Lassen County continues to stay in the region, monitoring may include capturing at least one of the two and fitting it with a satellite-based GPS transmitter.

“The purpose of collaring gray wolves is to understand some key biological parameters such as habitat use, prey preferences and reproduction, as well as to potentially minimize wolf-livestock conflicts” said Karen Kovacs, a CDFW Wildlife Program Manager who has studied the wolves. “Due to concerns for the welfare of wolves, capturing them is generally not feasible in cold weather. Therefore, we would not attempt to capture and collar the wolves until late spring at the earliest.”

Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered both federally and within the state of California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and CDFW have no plans to reintroduce gray wolves into California. CDFW’s draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/gray-wolf.

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Media Contacts:
Karen Kovacs, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2312

Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

Wolf Depredation Investigation Report Released

After a thorough investigation of an incident in Siskiyou County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released a wolf depredation incident report. The incident was observed on Nov. 10, 2015.

The report classified this incident as “probable.” That is, there is some evidence to suggest wolf predation of livestock involving at least one animal (calf).

In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (ESA). The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal ESA of 1973. Gray wolves in California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.

Though wolves rarely pose a direct threat to human safety, CDFW recommends that people never approach, feed or otherwise disturb a wolf. For more information about staying safe in wolf-occupied areas, including what people should do if they encounter a wolf, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/gray-wolf/faq.
Proprietary and location information has been redacted from the report.

CDFW’s draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California was made available on Dec. 2, 2015. CDFW is receiving input on the plan until Feb. 15, 2016.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

General Deer Season Opens Saturday in B2, B6, C1 and C2

CDFW Reminds Hunters of Wolf Pack in Siskiyou County

This Saturday, Sept. 19 is the general deer season opener in zones B2, B6, C1 and C2. Elk season is already open in Siskiyou County and the northeast zone. For complete hunting regulations including zones and season, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters of an established wolf pack (two adults and five pups) in Siskiyou County. As wolves can travel up to 30 miles per day, these hunting zones in the north state could be within the wolf pack’s range.

Any wild gray wolf in California is state and federally protected. In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves in California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California. Federal penalties include significant fines and one-year imprisonment.

CDFW has important information on distinguishing between coyotes, wolves and dogs on its website. While the recent photographic evidence of wolves indicates they are black in color, there are occasions where hunters have mistaken a wolf for a coyote and killed it. CDFW implores hunters to be aware of the potential presence of wolves in the northern state and take extreme precaution to avoid this scenario.

Concerns about human safety in regard to wolves are largely based on folklore and are unsubstantiated. In recent years there was one human mortality in Canada caused either by wolves or bears and one confirmed human mortality in Alaska by wolves. Based on experience from states where substantial wolf populations now exist, wolves pose little risk to humans. However, CDFW recommends that people never approach a wolf, or otherwise interact with or feed a wolf. Farmers and ranchers can reduce the likelihood of attracting wolves and other predators by removing potential sources of food and other attractants from their land such as discarded animal carcasses, bone piles, etc. More about how to avoid human-wildlife interactions can be found on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/keep-me-wild or www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/gray-wolf.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Photo Shows Wolf Pups in Northern California

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
Matt Baun, USFWS Communications, (530) 841-3119

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has photographic evidence of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California.

Wolf Pups  JPG

After trail cameras recorded a lone canid in May and July, CDFW deployed additional cameras, one of which took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old and others showing individual adults. Because of the proximity to the original camera locations, it is likely the adult previously photographed in May and July is associated with the group of pups.

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

Wolf 1

CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.

Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were extirpated. Aside from these wolves and the famous wolf OR7 who entered California in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in the state was here in 1924. OR7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.

Wolf 2

In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.

CDFW is completing a Draft Wolf Management Plan and will release it soon. Throughout the plan’s development, CDFW has held numerous meetings with stakeholders. Currently, CDFW is incorporating comments from a stakeholder advisory group, and considering revisions due to implications of this news, before releasing the draft plan to the general public. Public meetings will be scheduled to receive public comment on the draft plan.

In addition to the trail cameras, CDFW relies on help from the public to glean information about wolves in California. The public can report wolf sightings on CDFW gray wolf website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/Sighting-Report.

Though wolves rarely pose a direct threat to human safety, CDFW recommends that people never approach, feed or otherwise disturb a wolf. For more information about staying safe in wolf-occupied areas, including what people should do if they encounter a wolf, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/FAQ.