(KRON) — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said four new packs of wolves have been spotted in California within the past five months.

“Holy smokes what fantastic progress we’re witnessing in wolf recovery in California,” said Amaroq Weiss with the Center for Biological Diversity. “State and federal endangered species protections are allowing wolves to safely reestablish in the Golden State’s beautiful landscapes.”

The most recently discovered pack was found in July living in Tulare County’s Giant Sequoia National Monument. This pack’s establishment marks the southernmost location of any wolf pack in California’s modern history, according to CDFW.

Weiss said, “The homecoming of wolves to California is an epic story of a resilient species we once tried to wipe from the face of the Earth.”

Before 2011, gray wolves had completely vanished from the state.

Wildlife officials wrote, “This native species was likely extirpated from California in the 1920s. Wolves have returned to California on their own. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife did not reintroduce gray wolves to the state.”

The new wolf families add further evidence that California has suitable habitats for wolves, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

Wolves are currently protected under the California Endangered Species Acts and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Endangered Species Act. 

Wolf Pack Timeline

  • 2011: A male wolf named “OR7” crossed the state line from Oregon to California. He was the first wolf in nearly a century to make California part of its range. OR7 later returned to Oregon to form the Rogue Pack.
  • 2015: The Shasta Pack, California’s first confirmed wolf pack in nearly 100 years, was discovered in 2015.
  • 2017: The Lassen Pack, which resides in parts of Lassen and Plumas Counties, and was confirmed in 2017 and has produced many pups.

CDFW officials wrote, “The Lassen Pack utilizes a broad area of western Lassen and northern Plumas counties with a 332-mile home range. The pack produced litters in 2017 (four pups), 2018 (five pups), 2019 (five pups), 2020 (a double litter of nine pups), 2021 (five pups), and 2022 (five pups).”

  • 2020: The Whaleback Pack in eastern Siskiyou County was formed in late 2020.
  • 2021: The Beckwourth Pack in Plumas and Sierra counties was confirmed in spring 2021.
  • 2023: Four new, yet-to-be-named wolf packs appeared in Northern California in 2023.