Could This Rare Footage Mean The Return Of Grey Wolves In California?

Humans nearly hunted the American grey wolf to extinction in beginning of the 20th century. Grey wolves are currently endangered in California and the last grey wolf seen in California was one that had wandered south from Oregon in 2011. But the rarity of this majestic species is about to change with the Shasta Pack. California is gearing up for what looks like the first pack of California grey wolves in over 100 years!

Grey wolf and cub

The Shasta Pack is named for their proximity to Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County, CA. The pack consists of two black-furred adults and five pups. According to NBC, the last known grey wolf in California was killed in 1924. Since then, the species has been recovering from extensive hunting in Idaho and Wyoming. Over the past decade, they’ve been moving west towards Oregon, which is how the Shasta Pack showed up in California. It is believed that the Shasta Pack is descended from the wolves living in Oregon, and their appearance in California is special. They could return the species to the California wilderness, where they belong. This is truly an endangered species success story.

Their presence in California was confirmed in August, but a debate has sparked over what to do about them. As an re-emerging endangered species, the grey wolf would receive certain protections. According to a press release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

“Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the [Endangered Species Act] 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.”

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Hunters and ranchers are objecting to this potential decision to protect grey wolves as endangered. Hunters fear that protecting grey wolves will diminish the deer and elk populations of California. Ranchers, on the other hand, are worried that they will be helpless in defending their livestock from grey wolves due to the Endangered Species Act’s restrictions.

You can help keep the Shasta Pack around by donating to Defenders Of Wildlife (you can donate here). Your donation can help in multiple ways. From providing emergency hay to livestock in the event that they need to be moved, to helping to put radio tracking devices on wolves to protect them and nearby animals. The Defenders Of Wildlife want what’s best for both animal and human-kind alike.

Donate today and help the American wolf make a comeback.

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