Rare gray wolf likely spotted in California’s Siskiyou County

A trail camera photo taken in July 2015 shows what many scientists believe to be a gray wolf in a remote location of Siskiyou County.

A trail camera photo taken in July 2015 shows what many scientists believe to be a gray wolf in a remote location of Siskiyou County.

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has collected evidence that suggests a rare gray wolf has traveled into Siskiyou County.

Based on information received earlier this year from Californians reporting they saw a large, dark-colored wolf, CDFW deployed a number of remote trail cameras within southeastern Siskiyou County, located northwest of the Truckee-Tahoe region on the southern border of Oregon.

At one location in early May, images were captured of a large, dark-colored, lone canid, which is possibly a dispersing gray wolf, according to a CDFW news release issued Monday.

Then, in early June, CDFW biologists came across large canid tracks on a dirt road in a separate, remote location of Siskiyou County, while searching for fawns as part of an ongoing deer study.

Assumptions based on the tracks’ size and distance compelled staff to place a trail camera to remotely capture images of subsequent animal activity.

On July 24, CDFW downloaded a series of images from that camera taken the previous week, revealing a large, dark-colored canid, which CDFW biologists believe is a gray wolf.

The animal’s tracks are significantly larger than those of a coyote, and a comparison of the images with photos of an adult coyote captured at the same site indicate the animal is significantly larger than a coyote, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Additional remote cameras have been deployed, and wildlife biologists will return to the location in an attempt to find scat for DNA analysis to confirm if it is a gray wolf.

Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were destroyed. Prior to the arrival of the famous wolf OR-7 in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in California was in 1924, researchers said.

Researchers do not believe this animal to be OR-7.

OR-7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon, according to the report.

Biologists believe that if the animal photographed on the trail camera is a wolf, then, like OR-7 in 2011, it is probably an animal that has dispersed from a pack in Oregon.

For information about gray wolves, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/FAQ.


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