Whaleback Pack Delivers California’s Largest Known Wolf Litter in Over 100 Years

The Whaleback Pack, living in Northern California’s Siskiyou County, delivered a historic litter of pups in 2022. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the pack added 8 pups this year, the largest known litter of wolf pups in over 100 years.

The Whaleback Pack now sits at 10 known wolves after the male gray wolf, dubbed OR-85, mated with the female for the second time in two years. With the wolf pack delivering 15 pups in just two years of living in NorCal, they now sit as a crucial part of the controversial reintroduction of wolves in the state.

The Whaleback Pack is joined by just two other known wolf packs in California, the Lassen Pack and Beckwourth Pack. The Lassen Pack currently sits at approximately 12 wolves, while the Beckwourth Pack is around 2 to 3 wolves. It was recently confirmed that the breeding male of the Beckwourth Pack was born in the Lassen Pack, and is a potential great grandson of the trailblazing OR7, who was the first known wolf in the state in over 100 years.

The only other known pack in to live in Siskiyou County this century was the Shasta Pack, which mysteriously disappeared in in 2018. There are currently multiple investigations in NorCal pertaining to the suspicious disappearance of the wolves.

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.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


  1. Having played a wide-spread and dominate role in ecosystems across the country, this is wonderful news. Ecosystems devoid of their apex predators fray and unravel, cannot self-sustain. As we are currently in the midst of a mass extinction event of human-making, with biodiversity itself in a death spiral, I both celebrate these canids restoring themselves, and my fellow protectors working in various capacities. Looking forward to a more natural model, and hopefully, eventually, doing away with the artificial game farm style of management that has been degrading the land since Europeans arrived in the Nearctic.

    Gray wolves were not reintroduced to California. They began returning on their own four feet in December of 2011. Thank you, “Journey”.

  2. Fantastic news that California’s wolf population is slowly growing. The wolves will bring better ecological balance to California by reducing the deer population. This in turn will save human lives as about 200 people in the U.S. are killed annually in auto/ deer crashes. But most importantly, in my opinion, is that returning wolves bring back a voice of the wilderness. Helping to make more complete the natural world that we humans have devastated over the millenia.

  3. That’s fine but they need to kept in control. Wolves are natural born killers, the deer population will suffer, look what the lions have done to the deer herd. A wolf like the lion has to kill a deer or someone’s livestock every two weeks to survive. Lions have reached a point that they will soon will have to be added to the hunting list, maybe 50/year, giving out a few depredation permits each year will not keep them in control.


  5. I think this is wonderful news! I remember traveling in Larsen about 25 years ago and saw what I thought was a wolf. My brother said it was a coyote, I could have sworn it was way to big to be a coyote! Was I right??? I think so!

    I hope they stay alive and thrive. Please don’t kill them people!????

  6. I have two rescues both are the most awesome best friends I’ve ever had the honor of knowing! The pact dynamics and the rolls that each of us have is so very special I just can’t describe how they make us (wife and myself) feel, they are both loving and tenacious and when I’m rewarded with a face rub it makes a guys heart swell. I’m ecstatic that the gray wolf is making a come back in California. Such great news! Please excuse my grammar as I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed I just love wolves

  7. We have to let nature be. All animals are needed and at the rate we are building new houses in California we are taking away away all their land. I really wish it would stop. Their is enough old houses for people to buy if they want to move. More houses,more people and more traffic. That is not why I moved to California. It is a beautiful state I wish we would leave it alone. Let mother nature be the bears,the wolves,the coyotes, the mountain lions all the animals. I do not want to have to go to a zoo to see these marvelous creatures.

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