In my book, When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors, I quote my friend and mentor in all things wolf, Yellowstone Wolf Project Leader Douglas Smith about the return of the wolf to the Golden State: “California is a great example of the adventurous spirit that wolves have,” he said, “and it also shows that wolves don’t need much; give them a little bit of a break and they’ll do the rest.”
After OR-7 made his historic trek into California in 2011--the first wolf to enter California in over ninety years--it didn't take long for word to get out in the wolf world about this new land of opportunity. Defying the predictions of most experts who thought a permanent wolf presencein California was still probably a decade away from OR-7's visit (he chose Oregon to raise his family), the Shasta Pack appeared in 2015 and made California an official wolf state again. "We were really excited, if not amazed, at the appearance of the wolves. They have beat us to
the punch,” exclaimed Eric Loft, chief of the Wildlife Branch for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, to the Los Angeles Times.
This week, California Fish and Wildlife released a photo of what could be yet another wolf residing in the state. Although the DNA tests were inconclusive as to whether the animal rated as a wolf or dog or hybrid, the remote location and other evidence strongly point to a Canis lupus.
Welcome to California, mystery wolf!