Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 3, 2021


Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613,

Two of California’s Three Wolf Packs Confirmed to Have Pups

SAN FRANCISCO— Two of California’s three existing wolf families, the Lassen pack and the Whaleback pack, have produced pups this year, according to a new quarterly report published by the California Department of Fish and Game.

“We’re over the moon knowing that for the first time in more than 100 years, California has at least two wolf packs with pups. This is a red-letter moment in wolf recovery for the Golden State,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These little ones are here because of legal protections that are crucial to their survival and made it possible for wolves to return.”

In January federal protections were stripped from wolves across nearly the entire lower 48 states. This includes California, but wolves here still are fully protected under the state’s endangered species act. But protections have been removed in neighboring states like Oregon, which is the primary source of wolves that disperse to California.

The Lassen pack, first confirmed in 2017, has had pups every year since then. The pack’s territory straddles Lassen and Plumas Counties. The Whaleback pack was confirmed in late 2020 and ranges in eastern Siskiyou County. In May California’s latest wolf family, the Beckwourth pack, was discovered in southern Plumas County.

Today’s agency report notes that the Lassen pack’s litter consist of six pups, while the Whaleback pack also produced at least six pups. The report also notes that genetic testing has revealed that the breeding female of the Whaleback pack is related to southern Oregon’s Rogue pack.

In 2011 the founder of the Rogue pack, OR-7, was the first wolf to come to California in nearly 90 years. OR-7 spent 15 consecutive months in the Golden State before returning to southwestern Oregon, where he eventually found a mate.

“Wolves continue to show us what scientists have said all along, that California is good wolf country and they belong here,” said Weiss. “To ensure that wolves can continue to come to California and establish families here, we’re fighting to get federal protections restored across the country.”

Lassen pack wolf pups in 2017. Photo courtesy California Department of Fish and Wildlife Image is available for media use.

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.

center locations