A young member of California’s only known gray wolf pack has left the state and ventured into Oregon, wildlife officials said.
The male wolf, dubbed LAS13M, traveled to Lake County, Oregon, in early October and has remained there, according to a July-through-September report from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The wolf was a member of the Lassen Pack first spotted in 2017. The wolves are only the second pack spotted in far Northern California since the species went extinct there in 1924.
A pack of seven wolves was seen in Shasta County in 2015 but vanished within a year.
Gray wolves were eradicated in California early in the last century because of their perceived threat to livestock. Their reappearance in the state has riled ranchers, who say wolves have preyed on their livestock on public or private land.
Wolves are protected under California’s Endangered Species Act. The federal Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to delist gray wolves as an endangered species and is expected to finalize that rule this week, Amaroq Weiss, a senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement Wednesday.
“Ordinarily we’d be celebrating the news that California wolves are traveling into other states, because that helps expand a healthy gene pool,” Weiss said. “But wolf recovery still has a long way to go in the Golden State, and the impending loss of federal protection will pose grave challenges to the future of wolves throughout the West.”