California's only known wolf pack, the Lassen Pack, has successfully produced its fourth litter of pups. The pack's father joined the pack recently after the first breeding male disappeared last summer. This year's new litter is made up of 8 pups. The pack's father joined the pack recently after the first breeding male disappeared last summer.
“We’re elated at the birth of the Lassen pack’s endearing pups, who are breathing new life into the Golden State’s wolf recovery,” said Amaroq Weiss, a senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These little ones give hope to everyone who wants to see wolves re-established in the places these beautiful animals once called home.”
Genetic testing indicates that at least four are male and two are female. With these new pups, the Lassen Pack now consists of at least 14 animals, including the parents, the eight new pups and four wolves from the pack's prior litters.
California's wolves are fully protected under state law. The wolves often travel here from Oregon, where they are not protected.
The Lassen Pack is only California’s second confirmed pack in nearly 100 years. The Shasta Pack, a family of seven wolves, was confirmed in 2015 but by 2016 had mysteriously disappeared.
The Lassen Pack was first confirmed in 2017 and had four pups in 2017, five in 2018, and four in 2019. Not all the pups have survived, and some have left the pack. Wolves tend to stay with their birth pack the first few years of their lives before dispersing to seek mates and their own territory.
The original breeding male was a pup of the famous wolf OR-7, who came to California from Oregon in 2011. OR-7 was the first confirmed wild wolf in the state in 87 years. He spent 15 consecutive months in California before returning to southwestern Oregon, where he eventually found a mate. He has sired pups each year since 2014. This spring Oregon wildlife officials indicated that OR-7 has not been seen since October 2019 and has likely died.