Two gray wolves living in Siskiyou County have been successfully captured, collared and released and will provide the first satellite information on California’s wolf population since the summer of 2022, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
When the two wolves were captured by the CDFW on March 17, they fitted them with satellite collars, measured and sampled their DNA, and performed disease surveillance, KTLA sister station KTXL reports.
“A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen and we’re excited about the new collars and data,” CDFW senior environmental scientist and wolf specialist Kent Laudon said. “We’re already seeing interesting movements on agriculture lands and sharing that information with local folks to install fladry and other deterrent measures around cattle pastures.”
One of these wolves has made a long journey from northeastern Oregon to Siskiyou County since February 2020 and started his own family in California.
OR85, a 4-year-old black male weighing in at 98 pounds, was originally collared in February 2020 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife before he left his natal pack in the same year.
By November 2020, OR85 crossed the border into California and Siskiyou County where he paired with a female gray wolf that had left her natal pack in southwestern Oregon.
The two make up the Whaleback Pack in Siskiyou County and in the pair had seven pups in 2021 and another eight pups in 2022.
One of those seven pups was the other gray wolf captured with OR85, and he currently weighs around 97 pounds.
“The capture and collar of gray wolves 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,” the CDFW continued in its news release.
Later this spring, the CDFW are planning to continue ground capture attempts to collar additional wolves which will provide them each morning with four locations of the wolves since the previous day.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, as of November 2021, at least 20 wolves live in California amongst the states three main packs. The Lassen pack occupies Plumas and Lassen counties, the Beckwourth pack occupies eastern Plumas County and the Whaleback pack is in eastern Siskiyou County.