Photos of pups from the Lassen pack in 2017 are from California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Two of California’s three existing wolf families, the Lassen and Whaleback pack, have given birth to 12 pups this year, according to a new quarterly report published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This marks the first time that California has at least two wolf packs with pups in more than 100 years.
“This is a red-letter moment in wolf recovery for the Golden State,” Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “These little ones are here because of legal protections that are crucial to their survival and made it possible for wolves to return.”
In January, federal protections were removed from wolves across nearly the entire lower 48 states. This includes California, but wolves in the state are still fully protected under California’s Endangered Species Act. Sadly, protections have been removed in neighboring states like Oregon, where many of the wolves in California are traveling from.
The Lassen pack, first confirmed in 2017, has birthed pups every year. The pack’s territory straddles Lassen and Plumas Counties. The Whaleback pack was confirmed in late 2020 and ranges in eastern Siskiyou County. In May, California’s latest wolf family, the Beckwourth pack, was discovered in southern Plumas County.
The most recent report notes that the Lassen pack’s litter consist of six pups, while the Whaleback pack also produced at least six pups. The report also notes that genetic testing has revealed that the breeding female of the Whaleback pack is related to southern Oregon’s Rogue pack.