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New Wolf Pack Confirmed in California

06 July 2017 | Defenders of Wildlife News Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 6, 2017) – Late yesterday the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) confirmed a new wolf pack in California, the Lassen Pack. The new pack has at least three confirmed pups, and CDFW successfully collared the alpha female.

Pamela Flick, California representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Considering that wolves were absent from the California landscape for nearly 90 years before OR-7 made his way here, a whole new wolf family showing up just a few years later is momentous. The presence of the Lassen Pack marks an exciting new chapter in wolf recovery in the Pacific West.

“Defenders of Wildlife is encouraged to hear that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has successfully collared the Lassen Pack’s alpha female, the first wolf ever collared by our state.

“We hope that the information gathered by the collar can help inform management and coexistence efforts — proactive strategies that can prevent or minimize conflicts between livestock and our state’s newest wolves.

“Wolves are just starting to return to their historical range here. OR-7 proved that a wolf could make the trek to California. The Shasta Pack gave us hope for wolf packs here. Now the presence of the Lassen Pack shows that wolves are eager to return to their native territory in the Golden State.”


California wolves

The gray wolf is a native species that was extirpated from California in the 1920s. In 2011 a male gray wolf (OR-7) traveled hundreds of miles from its pack in northeastern Oregon and entered California in December that year. His presence in California prompted members of the public to petition the California Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

On June 4, 2014, the commission found that such listing was warranted and voted to list gray wolves under CESA. In addition, CDFW has prepared for the return of wolves to California by convening a Stakeholder Working Group, comprised of ranchers, hunters and environmental conservation organizations, including Defenders. The group assisted in the development of a wolf plan in California.

In spring 2015 a CDFW trail camera in Siskiyou County recorded a lone wolf. Additional cameras deployed in the vicinity took multiple photos showing two adults and five pups. CDFW designated this as the “Shasta Pack.” In November 2016 CDFW confirmed a pair of wolves in California. Genetic analysis shows that the male is OR-7’s son, which dispersed southeast from the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.


For more than 30 years, Defenders of Wildlife has led the way in reducing conflicts with predators, from polar bears in Alaska, panthers in Florida, grizzlies in the northern Rockies and wolves throughout the United States. Coexistence is an important way to secure a real future for these iconic species.

Recognizing the importance of working lands stewarded by ranchers not only for livestock production but for preservation of open space and habitat for rare and common species alike, Defenders co-founded the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition more than 10 years ago.

Defenders’ California program continues to make coexistence efforts a top priority. Our experts give educational presentations on our approach at workshops across the state. We have also provided tools to livestock producers in need of assistance with implementing proactive tools for reducing conflicts with predators.

Defenders will be hosting range rider trainings in the coming year. Range riders are one of the strategies used to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock. They monitor livestock for signs of stress, keep livestock in closer herds and monitor predator activity in order to move livestock if necessary.

In May 2016 the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara published a report that used spatial analyses to forecast potential conflict hotspots in California. It also analyzed what specific conflict prevention strategies may be most feasible for livestock producers to implement on their operations in northern California.

In June 2017, Defenders of Wildlife co-hosted a workshop in Shasta County during which more than 80 attendees learned about various methods to reduce wolf-livestock conflicts. One key point of discussion at that event was that diverse stakeholders, including ranchers, wildlife managers and environmental conservationists, agree that it is important to collar at least one wolf from each known wolf family to track pack activities and inform local landowners and ranchers of nearby wolf presence.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit

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