Save America’s Wildlife

New wolves in California

In news that brings joy to many and concern to some, wolves have been discovered in Tulare County.

wolf cubs
Outdoorsman |
These pups are not from the Tulare pack, but wolf pups like them could soon grace our landscape.

Wolves were sighted in Tulare County and appear to be staking out turf in the vicinity. As far as new territories go, this pack could do a whole lot worse.

Tulare is blessed with the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Sequoia National Park, wilderness areas and half of Mt. Whitney, give or take. That’s a lot of curb appeal and quality territory for the pack, made up of a female and four offspring — two females and two males.

NPS | Public Domain
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

The first wolf in nearly a century

Twelve years earlier, a wolf called OR-7 crossed from Oregon into California and became a bit of a celebrity. It was thought to be the first to grace the Golden State since its brethren were eradicated in the 1930’s. Interestingly, the Tulare wolves are descendants of OR-7.

These aren’t the only wolves in California today. Lassen, Plumas and Siskiyou counties all have small packs.

What to make of California’s new wolves?

The first thing to know is that their presence can heal ecosystems, starting with the fact that they keep deer populations in check.

Second, wolves make ranchers nervous. While no livestock have been killed by this pack, wolves are predators. Yet the joy of seeing returning wolves and the opportunity for a wilder landscape trumps, in our eyes, this concern. Plus, ranchers can receive reimbursements. In this Los Angeles Times story about the pack, Louis Sahagún provides the details.

Third, while less tangible, it’s hard to argue against the notion that our lives are enriched by the sound of a howling wolf, or even knowing the howl is out there, bouncing off a canyon wall somewhere.

So let’s welcome the return of wolves and hope for their success in putting down roots in the area.

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