California’s Lassen Wolf Pack Has Pups Second Straight Year

Births Comes as Trump Administration Plans End to Federal Protections

SAN FRANCISCO— California’s only known existing wolf family, the Lassen pack, has produced its second litter of pups.

An article published by the Plumas County News yesterday reported that California Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf biologist Kent Laudon told Plumas County officials at a July 17th meeting that the pack has up to five new pups this year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently signaled its intention to strip legal protections from wolves across the country, including California and Oregon, which houses the source population for California’s wolves. That would place any future wolf recovery in grave danger.

“We’re thrilled the Lassen pack had these adorable pups, who will breathe new life into wolf recovery in the Golden State,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “These little ones are hopeful symbols at a time when the Trump administration is about to strip wolves across the country of protections that are crucial to their survival.”

The Lassen pack was first confirmed a year ago, when a Forest Service trail camera captured images of the adult mother wolf playing with several pups. At the Plumas County meeting, Laudon reported that in addition to having up to five new pups, the pack also consists of the three yearlings from last year plus the adult male and female wolf, bringing the pack’s number up to 10 individuals. Wolves tend to stay with their birth-pack the first few years of their lives before dispersing to seek mates and their own territory.

The Lassen pack is only California’s second confirmed pack in nearly 100 years. The Shasta pack, a family of seven wolves, was confirmed in 2015 but by 2016 had mysteriously disappeared.

“Wolves started recovering in West Coast states only because they were protected,” said Weiss. “With the Fish and Wildlife Service about to remove federal safeguards, the inspiring story of wolf recovery in California could tragically be cut short.”

The breeding male of the Lassen pack is the son of famous Oregon wolf OR-7, who came to California in 2011, the first confirmed wild wolf in the state in 87 years. OR-7 spent 15 consecutive months in the Golden State before returning to southwestern Oregon where he eventually found a mate, and has sired pups each year since 2014.

The Lassen pack male, born into the 2014 litter, made his way into California on his own. His mate is radio-collared, and her collar signals show that the Lassen pack’s territory includes parts of Lassen and Plumas Counties. At least two female offspring of OR-7 also have ventured into California, including OR-54, whose travels recently landed her almost at Lake Tahoe.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

6 Responses to California’s Lassen Wolf Pack Has Pups Second Straight Year

  1. avatar snaildarter says:

    Wolves in California, yay, now if only some golden bears would show up and Trump’s goons would leave them alone to prosper.

  2. avatar Frank Krosnicki says:

    This president’s lack of appreciation for the environment, for endangered species, and his inability to appoint qualified personnel to be caretakers of our country is disgusting. Like most all people elected to “serve”, constituents are forgotten in the interest of money, mostly. Voters who stick with him and his appointees will be sorry, they just don’t know it yet.

  3. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Great news! 🙂

  4. avatar Autumn says:

    Yay! Hopefully protections don’t get stripped and the wolves live long enough to grow and disperse farther.

  5. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Yes, I do hope that these wolves are watched carefully and protected, because I do not trust that someone or someones won’t try to deliberately harm them. This is why I have mixed feelings about these types of announcements.

    You notice that the article says that the Shasta pack ‘mysteriously disappeared’.

  6. avatar Yvette says:

    “The breeding male of the Lassen pack is the son of famous Oregon wolf OR-7, who came to California in 2011, the first confirmed wild wolf in the state in 87 years. OR-7 spent 15 consecutive months in the Golden State before returning to southwestern Oregon where he eventually found a mate, and has sired pups each year since 2014.”

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this paragraph. OR-7, Journey. The little non-pessimistic side of me gets giddy reading about his offspring and their survival. That is fitness! The larger pessimistic side of me becomes sullen, sad, and angry knowing this continent was once intensely populated with wolves.

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