Howling Wolf Captured on Trail Cam Footage Is Proof of Wolves’ Return to California

Picture Of Gray Wolf Standing On Log With Second Gray Wolf Behind

Photo: waitandshoot/Depositphotos

Earlier this year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) shared trail cam footage of a gray wolf letting out a remarkable howl. The video, uploaded on January 23, 2024, shows what appears to be a lone gray wolf howling at the moon and then cuts to it with the rest of its pack. It is believed that these wolves belong to the Yowlumni Pack, which was found in summer 2023 in “the Sequoia National Forest in proximity to the Tule River Tribe of California’s reservation and ancestral lands.” This particular pack has the distinct honor of being the first wolves spotted in Southern California in more than 150 years. They are also one of four new wolf packs discovered in the state of California in 2023.

Currently, gray wolves are considered a recovering endangered species, after they were almost hunted to extinction by settlers in the western United States. Interestingly, gray wolves were never formally reintroduced in California—researchers say that they made their way back on their own. It is believed that gray wolves naturally roamed towards areas burned by wildfires across the Golden State. (Wolves are known to create dens for birthing in burn scars, as the open area allows them to survey their surroundings better to spot other predators.) According to the CDFW, there are at least 44 gray wolves and seven active wolf packs in the state.

While many people in the state view the wolves' return as a good thing, it does pose concerns for ranchers and farmers. As an endangered species, it is illegal to injure or kill a gray wolf, even if it is attacking one's livestock. The same rules apply to pet owners, as wolves sometimes view domesticated dogs as competitors or prey. Fortunately, the CDFW is tracking the wolf populations in the region, and continuing to learn more about their habits. They write: “The key overarching objectives includes monitoring wolf populations, expanding scope of conservation, management and research focus, and manage and mitigate wolf-livestock interactions to minimize loss.”

A howling wolf captured on a California trail cam is believed to be part of the first pack of wolves found in California in over 150 years.

h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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