Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 7, 2023


Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613,

New Group of Wolves Confirmed in California’s Tehama County

SAN FRANCISCO— The California Department of Fish and Wildlife this week confirmed that photographs of three wolves were captured on trail cameras recently in Tehama County. The trio marks the fifth potential pack in nearly 100 years to establish itself in the state.

“This is incredible news for wolf recovery in California,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These beautiful newcomers are proving that California has a lot of great habitat for wolves, as scientists have said all along.”

Photographs of the three wolves were taken in late March by trail cameras on a private ranch located in Tehama County. The agency will be scouting the area to look for evidence to determine their origin. Typically, if scat left by the animals can be collected and DNA-tested, test results can identify if each animal is male or female and whether they are related to California’s other wolf families.

California currently has three existing wolf packs — the Lassen pack confirmed in 2017, the Whaleback pack confirmed in late 2020 to early 2021, and the Beckwourth pack confirmed in spring of 2021. California’s only other known wolf pack in modern times, the Shasta pack, was confirmed in summer 2015 but disappeared a few months later.

Late spring-early summer is the time of year when the department can determine if any of these wolf families has denned, signaling the potential for pups to be born. It has yet to be seen whether this new trio of wolves will have pups this year.

“It’s been two years since any new pack was confirmed, so learning of these three wolves in completely new territory is especially joyful news,” said Weiss. “We have so few wolves that every new pack is something to celebrate.”


The first wolf in nearly a century to make California part of his range was OR-7, a radio-collared wolf from Oregon that entered California in late 2011. OR-7 traveled across seven northeastern counties in California before returning to southwestern Oregon, where he found a mate and settled down. The original breeding male of the Lassen pack was the offspring of OR-7’s first litter. He was born in Oregon but then, like his father, came to California.

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is native to California but was driven to extinction in the state by the mid-1920s. After OR-7 dispersed from Oregon into California, the Center and allies successfully petitioned the state to fully protect wolves under California’s endangered species act. Gray wolves are also protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to intentionally kill any wolves in the state.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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