In 2020, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported OR54, a wolf that traveled extensively through Lassen, Plumas, Butte, Tehama and other counties, was found dead in Shasta County. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State issues gray wolf quarterly update

Here’s the latest information from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding the gray wolves in our area.

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Lassen Pack

The Lassen Pack utilizes a broad area of western Lassen and northern Plumas counties with an approximately 500 square-mile home range. The pack produced litters in 2017 (four pups), 2018 (five pups), 2019 (four pups), 2020 (nine pups), and 2021 (six pups).

The pack had two litters in 2020 – the original breeding female (LAS01F) had five pups and a two-year old female (LAS09F) had four pups. LAS09F had six pups in 2021. LAS01F has not been detected since fall 2020.

Genetic analysis indicated the original male was a 2014 offspring of southwestern Oregon’s Rogue Pack. While he sired the 2017-2019 litters, he has not been detected with the pack since spring 2019. A black-colored adult male (LAS16M) began traveling with the pack as early as June 2019, and genetic analysis of pup scats showed LAS16M sired both 2020 litters and the 2021 litter. He is not related to other known California wolves, and his origin is currently unknown.

The pack’s original breeding female (LAS01F) is not related to known Oregon wolves and genetic analysis indicates she likely dispersed from some other part of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.

In late summer 2020, a satellite-collared yearling male wolf (LAS13M) dispersed from the pack. After traveling through Lassen and Modoc counties, LAS13M entered Oregon in early October 2020.

In September 2018, a yearling female from the pack was found dead, and the matter remains under investigation. Gray wolves are protected under California Endangered Species Act . CDFW reminds the public that killing a wolf is a potential crime and subject to serious penalties including imprisonment. CDFW takes very seriously any threats to this recovering wolf population and fully investigates any possible criminal activity.


Beckwourth Pack

The Beckwourth Pack was confirmed in May 2021 when three wolves were photographed by trail camera at a confirmed wolf depredation site in southern Plumas County. Tracks of two wolves had been observed in the same general area in February 2021. Field efforts are ongoing, and it is not yet known whether the pack is reproductive.

Preliminary DNA analysis indicates one wolf is LAS12F (from the Lassen Pack 2019 litter). The origins of the other two wolves remain uncertain.