The only known wolf family in California has produced a new litter of pups, its fourth, building on a gradual recovery of the species in the US west.
The Lassen pack apparently lost its original father, a wolf not spotted since June last year. But a new male has joined the pack, resulting in the new litter of eight pups. There are now at least 14 wolves in the pack, including prior litters.
The family is only the second confirmed wolf pack in California in the past 100 years, and was first identified in 2017. Wolves have been hunted since white settlers moved into western states but endangered species laws and conservation efforts have helped a slow recovery.
The Trump administration, however, has proposed stripping protections from wolves across the US. While California state law protects the wolves, neighbouring states such as Oregon do not have such safeguards.
“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.”
Young wolves usually stay with their family for the first few years of life, before moving away to seek mates and stake out their own territory.
Such journeys can be fraught – earlier this year a female wolf known as OR-54 was found dead after a long and fruitless quest to find a mate.
The wolf, which was wearing a radio collar tracked by wildlife officials, had loped for more than 8,700 miles across California, Nevada and Oregon before succumbing.
Article Source: The Guardian