Thursday, June 23, 2016

Another apparent wolf sighting in California brings delight, fear

One of the most revered predators in North America — the big, bad wolf — has been spotted in Lassen County, the latest in what appears to be a steady procession of the wild canines crossing the Oregon border into California, giving hope to wildlife advocates and striking fear in ranchers. Over the past year, four trail cameras captured photographs of what appears to be a lone male gray wolf in the rural county of roughly 31,000 people in northeastern California. If confirmed, the wolf would be the ninth documented in the state, a strong indication that the carnivores are finding good habitat in the Golden State, where the species was exterminated more than 90 years ago. “It’s a very good sign that we continue to have more visitors in the state that hopefully will stay here,” said Amaroq Weiss, the West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “California is in the infant stages of hopefully wolf recovery. It’s very exciting. Each one of these individual animals that comes into the state is important.” The California Department of Fish and Wildlife took the four photos at different times between August and May, and in one case collected a hair sample. DNA tests were inconclusive, though, meaning the animal could be a dog or wolf-dog hybrid. Wildlife experts, however, believe the creature is the celebrated Canis lupus because it remained in the remote woods through the winter, an act of endurance that would be nearly impossible for your average Fido...more

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