The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday, 24 March 2023, two of the state’s small but growing gray wolf populations had been found and given tracking collars. This will help the state’s conservation efforts.
The agency says they found and caught the two wolves on March 17 in Siskiyou County because one of the wolves’ collars gave off “intermittent signals.” The wolves were given satellite collars that would send regular updates to the department about where they were.
After that, they were put back into the wild.
“The capture of these wolves is fantastic since we lost the only functioning satellite collar last summer, and ground capture efforts since then have been unsuccessful,” Kent Laudon, wolf specialist and senior environmental scientist for the department, said in a statement.
“A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen, and we’re excited about the new collars and data.”
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that rehabilitating the small population of wolves requires putting collars on them and keeping track of where they go. In the 1920s, hunters killed all of the wolves in the state. The Endangered Species Act has stopped people from hunting gray wolves in California since 2014.
The top predator’s death has greatly affected the whole food chain and upset the delicate balance between predators and prey.
Wolves are slowly making their way back to California from other states. One of these wolves, OR-93, famously made it from western Oregon to southern California by taking freeways and mountain passes.
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The wolf was killed by a car near Interstate 5 in late 2021, putting a sad end to the journey. Still, people who care about wolves praised his epic journey, saying it gave them hope that wolves might one day be able to roam free in the area again.
One of the wolves caught last week, called OR85, was also from Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife seized and put a collar on it in February 2020. He traveled from northeastern Oregon to the northernmost part of California later that same year.
CaliforniaDFW also Shared a Press release, which is shown in this Twitter post-
OR85 was found with a 1-year-old, 97-pound male wolf who is thought to be from a litter he had in 2021. OR85 is four years old and weighs 98 pounds. OR85 mated with a gray female wolf from southwest Oregon. That wolf had seven pups in 2021 and eight pups last year.
The growing number of gray wolves in the West has caused tension between conservationists, who want the population to grow, and ranchers and farmers, who say the wolves often threaten their livestock. The state says it tells cattle and sheep ranchers when wolves are close by giving them the information from the collars.
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