Two members of California’s small but recovering gray wolf population have been located and collared, aiding the state’s conservation efforts, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday.
The agency says they located and captured the two wolves on March 17 in Siskiyou district through “intermittent signals” coming from a wolf’s broken collar. The wolves received satellite collars that send regular location updates back to the department.
They were then released back into the wild.
“The capture of these wolves is fantastic as we lost the only working satellite collar last summer and ground tracking efforts have since been unsuccessful,” said Kent Laudon, the department’s wolf specialist and chief environmental scientist, in a statement. “A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen and we’re excited about the new collars and specs.”
Collaring wolves and tracking their movements is a crucial part of restoring the dwindling population that has been hunted to the death die out in the state in the 1920s. Gray wolves have been protected under the California Endangered Species Act since 2014 and may not be hunted. The loss of the apex predator had dramatic effects throughout the food chain and has upset the delicate balance between predator and prey.
Wolves have slowly returned to California, trotting in from other states. One such wolf, known as OR-93, known to have made the journey from western Oregon, crossing highways and mountain passes, until arriving in southern California. The odyssey ended tragically when the wolf was fatally hit by a car near Interstate 5 in late 2021. Despite this, his epic journey was welcomed by wolf advocates, who said it gave them hope that the species could one day roam the region safely again.
One of the wolves captured last week, named OR85, was also from Oregon and was captured and collared by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in February 2020. Later that year he made the journey from northeastern Oregon to northernmost California.
OR85, now 4 years old and weighing 98 pounds, was found with a 1-year-old, 97-pound male wolf who is believed to have come from a litter he had in 2021. He had seven pups in 2021 and eight pups in the past year.
Rising numbers of gray wolves have fueled tensions across the West between conservationists who want to see populations return and ranchers and farmers who say their livestock are routinely threatened. The state says it shares information gleaned from the collars with cattle and sheep farmers to alert them to nearby wolf activity.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-03-25/two-gray-wolves-captured-and-collared-in-northern-california Two gray wolves captured and collared in Northern California