A gray wolf has entered Northern California, which conservationists take as a sign that the local population could be recovering from endangerment.
SF Gate reports that a wolf equipped with a radio collar (known as OR-25) entered California from Oregon in mid-December. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says Or-25 is about 3 years old, and has a very dark (and lovely!) coat.
According to KRON, OR-25 could be following the scent trail of other wolves that have moved south, or might be looking for a mate. The Center for Biological Diversity's Amaroq Weiss said more wolves could follow.
This is kind of a big deal: the gray wolf hasn't been seen in California in 90 years, and were thought to be endangered. But in 2015, there were more frequent sightings, which is good! In August, a pack of gray wolves dubbed the "Shasta Pack" were spotted in the woods in Siskiyou County.
But while conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts are happy about this wolf
takeover influx, ranchers are not so pumped. S.F. Gate notes that a calf was attacked and eaten by a wolf who was suspected to be part of the "Shasta Pack," but ranchers and farmers are not permitted to deal with wolves using lethal means. There are plans for wolf management in place though; in December, the S.F. Chronicle reported on the extent of the wolf conservation plan.
S.F. Gate notes that nearly 2 million gray wolves once lived in North America but were gradually killed off by European settlers and trappers who feared them (or wanted their fur). They had been driven to near-extinction in the continental U.S. by 1900.