California Fish & Wildlife Captures & Collars Two Gray Wolves To Gain Critical Data To Help Protect The Species In The Wild

Photos in article from California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A yearling male wolf from the Whaleback Pack in Siskiyou County returns to the wild after being outfitted with a satellite collar for management and research purposes.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the safe and successful capture and collaring of two gray wolves in Siskiyou County. The two wolves were captured on March 17th, fitted with satellite collars and measured and sampled for DNA and disease surveillance before being safely released back into the wild.

“The capture of these wolves is fantastic since we lost the only functioning satellite collar last summer. Ground capture efforts since then have been unsuccessful,” Kent Laudon, a senior environmental scientist and CDFW’s wolf specialist, said in a statement. “A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen and we are excited about the new collars and data.”

One of the captured wolves was OR85, a four-year-old black 98-pound male, originally collared by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in February of 2020. OR85 dispersed from his natal pack in 2020, making it to Siskiyou County in November of that year. OR85 paired with a gray female wolf that dispersed from a pack in southwestern Oregon to form the Whaleback Pack in Siskiyou County. The pair produced litters of seven pups in 2021 and eight pups in 2022.

Capture teams using a contracted helicopter and fixed-winged aircraft from CDFW’s Air Services Unit were able to locate the wolves through intermittent signals coming from OR85’s original collar, which was thought to be non-functioning. CDFW crews removed OR85’s original collar and replaced it with a new unit.

The other wolf captured and collared was a black 97-pound yearling male from the 2021 litter.

The capture and collaring efforts, which began last month, marks the first time CDFW has used helicopters to capture and collar gray wolves. This is an important management and research tool, along with other tools and methods used throughout the West to help monitor populations, understand landscape use patterns, and minimize livestock conflicts.

Each morning, under optimal conditions, the satellite collars will transmit four new locations to CDFW since the previous day’s download. Ground capture attempts to collar additional wolves will resume later this spring.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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