The Hare Minimum: Back-Pack   Leave a comment

Though fearsome in legend, the endangered Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) can be shy and wary, particularly when they are alone or in unknown territory. Which is why the recent appearance on wildlife tracking cameras of a single wolf in northern California has been an unexpected discovery – and why researchers are eager to learn more about this loner who is only the second wolf to be confirmed in the state since 1924.

In 2011, ‘OR7’, or ‘Journey’ the wolf was the first of his kind seen in California since 1924. Once thousands of wolves made their homes within virtually every California environment – from the oceans to the mountains, the desert edge to the deep forest. But largely due to misunderstandings of the potential danger wolves were to livestock and humans, within a relatively short time all wolves in the state had been killed or forced into other areas. When ‘Journey’ arrived on the scene, searching for new territory he could call his own, researchers hoped he might be the key to wolves re-establishing their homes in the state. For months ‘Journey’ was tracked, followed, and photographed as he traveled thousands of miles within northern California – he had been fitted with a radio tracking collar in Oregon, so he was relatively easy to follow – but eventually, he returned to his home state and is now the Alpha Male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon. (Maybe if he hadn’t been tracked and followed and photographed so much, he would have stayed in California).

So earlier this summer when a different wolf appeared (who has no radio collar, tag, or yet even an official name – but let’s call him ‘Eastwood’, because he travels alone), researchers were excited to see if this individual would decide to become a California wolf (not to be be confused with ‘California Girls’). But in a complete surprise, just last month other wildlife cameras photographed a group of seven wolves, two adults and five pups – none of which appear to be the single ‘Eastwood’ wolf seen earlier this summer! Named the Shasta Pack, these newest animals are believed to be an extended family – two parents and their pups; and it’s possible ‘Eastwood’ might be another adult attached to this same pack. Because the pups were probably born in California, they are likely to remain in the state and may become the first California native (wolves) in over 90 years, forming the foundation of many more wolf families, and a healthy and balanced environment.

Michonne Says: Well that’s all fine for the wolves I guess but I don’t like the sound of it. It’s one more thing to think about. And when you’re a little marmot, there’s already enough things to think about!

Grey Wolves, you'd think, would be grey.  This pack is more brownish-black.  Maybe from being in the California sun.

Grey Wolves, you’d think, would be grey. This pack is more brownish-black. Maybe from being in the California sun.

Posted August 23, 2015 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in The Hare minimum

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