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California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:44 am
by duskypack
Wildlife biologists are searching the craggy wilderness and rolling pastures of Northern California for seven missing gray wolves that thrilled environmentalists and frightened ranchers after becoming the first wolf pack to make the state home in nearly a century.

The family, known as the Shasta Pack, disappeared from southeastern Siskiyou County over the past year, mystifying state biologists who said it is unusual for the canine pack hunters, also known as timber wolves, to abandon established territory.

None of the gray wolves — who despite their name sport distinctive black coats — have been seen since May 2016 when researchers confirmed the presence of a lone juvenile in the rural region, which is a mix of public and private property.

“We’re reasonably confident that last year they did not use the same area as a pack as they did the year before, and we don’t know why,” said Pete Figura, a senior environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Why they were not detected anywhere else this past summer we don’t have a clear explanation for.”

Figura said there are a number of possible explanations — including migration to a new region with more prey — but research has shown that most wolf packs cling to and protect their breeding grounds, especially during the summer. He acknowledged, though, that this behavior has generally occurred in areas with multiple packs, which is not the case in mostly wolf-free California.

The state has genetic samples of each member of the Shasta Pack, so members can be identified by testing fur or scat, Figura said.

Black wolves were spotted in the late spring and summer of 2016 in southern Oregon, Figura said, but no evidence was found that would help biologists determine their identity. Fresh wolf tracks were also spotted in late January about 10 miles from the pack’s Siskiyou County stomping grounds.

“We detected some tracks and collected some scat and are awaiting DNA analysis,” he said. “It could have been a member of the Shasta Pack or a completely different animal. We don’t know at this time.”

Then again, it is no secret that the muscular predators were not exactly received with open arms in Siskiyou County, where some ranchers have threatened to employ the “three S’s” — shoot, shovel and shut up — if any of the sharp-toothed meat-eaters got near their livestock.
Read full article here: ... 993842.php

I'm very worried about the pack. I've been following the travels of the Imnaha Pack into California for a while (including the famous Journey, who is the brother of the breeding pair) and am really hopeful for their recovery. It would be a tragedy if this ground-breaking pack was killed just like all the wolves native to there a hundred years ago. I hope they can find this pack and, perhaps, start programs to tell a wolf from a coyote.

I find the description of wolves as 'sharp-toothed meat eater' really unnecessary. Surprise, carnivores have sharp teeth! Even dogs and cats are sharp-toothed meat-eaters, but that's not how they are usually described.

Re: California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:59 am
by wolfluvr101
This is really depressing that they have just disappeared. I hope that they have just moved grounds and have not been killed. That would be absolutely horrible.

Re: California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:47 pm
by Koa
It's a shame the Shasta pack is missing-- and it's the *entire* pack, too. I would think that if the pack fell upon hard times, you'd at least have one wolf lingering around or a sighting of a wolf from the pack alone. But so much time has passed. I'm aware you follow the pack closely and I hope they are safely located.

Re: California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:31 pm
by SolitaryHowl
Oh no, I hope they can be found soon.

Although it makes me wonder why they didn't put a radio collar on one of them for ease of tracking.

Re: California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:40 pm
by duskypack
One of the Shasta Pack wolves - a male - has been sighted in Nevada (the first wolf there in 95 years).
( ... a-95-years)
State wildlife officials have confirmed the presence of a wolf in Nevada for the first time since 1922.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife announced Friday that a wolf from the Shasta Pack in Northern California crossed into the Silver State in early November, but there is no evidence that the animal was here to stay.

The wolf was caught on video near Fox Mountain, about 150 miles north of Reno, prompting an investigation by state wildlife officials.

Animal droppings found during the search were sent for testing to the University of Idaho’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics, which recently confirmed the presence of a young male wolf from the Shasta Pack.

Officials said the wolf was likely in search of a mate, but the animal hasn’t been spotted in Nevada since the initial sighting.

“This observation is of a lone animal and is not confirmation of wolves with established territories in Nevada,” said state game chief Brian Wakeling in a written statement.

The Shasta Pack has seven known members, two adults and five offspring. None of the wolves in the pack have radio collars and their current whereabouts are unknown, but there is no reason to believe they have settled in Nevada, officials said.

“Clearly, this confirmed sighting has heightened the department’s awareness,” state wildlife director Tony Wasley said. “We will be closely monitoring the situation.”
A male wolf identified as an offspring of California's Shasta pack has made its way to northwest Nevada.

The wolf was spotted in early November near Fox Mountain, just west of the Black Rock Desert and about 20 miles from the California state line, Amaroq Weiss, west coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an email Friday. Nevada’s state wildlife agency was able to collect scat and send it for DNA testing. The results recently came back, confirming that it was a male offspring of the Shasta pack, Weiss said.

Wildlife advocates expressed concern earlier this month that seven gray wolves, the first wolf pack to take up residence in California in nearly a century, had not been seen since May 2016. The family, known as the Shasta pack, had disappeared from southeastern Siskiyou County.

Confirmation that an offspring of the pack had been sighted in Nevada was encouraging to those eager to see wolves make a comeback on the West Coast.

“They made it to California from Oregon through natural dispersal, and now California’s wolves are continuing this amazing saga by having one of our own disperse to Nevada,” Weiss said in the email.

“The fact that wolves can make these journeys and have made any kid of a comeback at all, after being almost entirely eradicated throughout the lower 48 United States, is due to the protections afforded them under the federal Endangered Species Act,” she said. “Federal and state protections for imperiled species like wolves make all the difference in the world.”

Re: California's only wolf pack is missing

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:42 am
by wolfluvr101
Thanks for the update duskypack, good to know that there has been at least one sighting.