Despite massive wildfires destroying large patches of wolf territory in Northern California in 2021, the small number of wolf packs in the region continue to breed. In 2022, two of California’s three wolf packs welcomed a litter of pups, bringing 11 new wolves into the state.
The Lassen Pack welcomed 5 new pups this year and that isn’t the only good news coming from the state’s most famous wolf pack. Wildlife officials have confirmed that the pack’s pups from 2021 survived the Dixie Fire, a question that had remained unanswered until recently. The pack is currently numbered at 12 wolves.
The Whaleback Pack, living in Siskiyou County, also welcomed a group of pups in 2022. The family had 6 pups this year, bringing 13 new wolves into the pack in just two years. With 5 of 7 pups from the 2021 litter still traveling with the pack, the Whaleback Pack now sits as the largest wolf pack in California at 13 wolves.
California’s newest wolf pack, the Beckwourth Pack, has not been observed so far in 2022. Wildlife officials indicated they haven’t done significant fieldwork in the area of the wolf pack this year, and have not been able to report any changes.
With the Lassen and Whaleback packs continuing the breed in NorCal, wolf populations have reached their highest number in more than a century in California. Wolf reintroduction in the state has passed the 10-year mark, with numbers now up to possibly 30 wolves.
Following decades of hunting wolves in the 1800’s, the species had disappeared from California altogether. After wolf reintroduction into Idaho’s Yellowstone National Park in the 1990’s, wolves have slowly moved across nearby states, including Oregon and California.
Despite plenty of controversy, it seems like wolf populations will continue to grow in California.