According to an LA Times report, Near-Extinct Animal Spotted Near National monument, a large gray wolf has been spotted at Southern California’s Vasquez Rocks National Park.
Michelle Harris, who had seen the wolf in July, described her encounter with a large, gray dog crossing a fiery road in the area. Harris told LA Times, “Then he looked back and really let out a good howl.” “I could only think, ‘It doesn’t look like a coyote, but it must be, right?'”
Near-Extinct Animal Spotted Near National monument
For the first time in over a century, the presence of a large gray wolf near Vasquez Rocks National Park in Southern California has been documented.
According to the LA Times report, Michelle Harris had seen a large, gray-colored dog crossing a fiery road in the area at the beginning of July. Harris mentioned, “He lowered his head and let out a good howl for real.” “I could only think, ‘It doesn’t look like a coyote, but it must be, right?'” she said.
Later, an analysis of the wolf’s tracks, fur, and scat confirmed that it was a female gray wolf. She was the alpha of a group known to researchers as ‘the Tule pack.’ Research revealed that she had come with her offspring, two males, and two females.
Additionally, DNA analysis confirmed that they are direct descendants of OR-7, the first wolf to make California’s journey in 90 years in 2011. He was a seventh-generation Oregon-born wolf. His GPS collar sent location data to satellites daily until 2014 when the battery ran out.
Environmentalists near Vasquez Rocks National Park were excited by the presence of the gray wolf. They requested that logging projects in the area be halted until the impact of these endangered species could be assessed.
However, not everyone was pleased to hear about the gray wolf sightings. While logging companies opposed putting their projects on hold, livestock owners feared that their animals could become prey for these large predators.
Nevertheless, Harris believed that when people were engaging with new packs, the wolves had probably moved further as there hadn’t been any fresh evidence since July. She said, “Since then, there’s been a lot more activity in the area. They might have gone to some quiet spot.”
Saw a Lion in the Chard
After being absent for over 20 years, a “vanished” lion has been spotted in Chard’s Sena Ora National Park, which is a remarkable example of wildlife success. using assistance from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Canadian government published a photo of a healthy lion taken using a camera trap on February 22. The lion population in this region has decreased by almost 66% since the 1990s, placing them in “endangered” status. Although they are regarded as “extinct” in Sena Ora National Park, their return to their former area gives conservationists optimism that this remarkable species may survive.
The largest wild member of the canine family (Canidae) is the grey wolf (Canis lupus), commonly referred to as the timber wolf. It lives across a large portion of North America. There are five to twenty-four subspecies of Canis lupus known to exist in North America, while there are seven to twelve subspecies known to exist in Eurasia, with one subspecies found in Africa. Dogs were created through selective breeding after wolves were domesticated thousands of years ago.
With sharp senses, large canine teeth, powerful jaws, and the ability to chase prey at speeds of up to 60 km (37 miles) per hour, gray wolves are well-equipped for their hunter’s way of life. An average adult male wolf in the northern regions can be about 2 meters (6.6 feet) long, including a bushy half-meter tail. With shoulders measuring about 76 cm (30 inches) in height, their weight is approximately 45 kilograms (100 pounds). However, depending on their geographical region, their weight can range from 14 to 65 kilograms (31 to 143 pounds). Females are roughly 20% smaller on average compared to males. The largest gray wolves are found in Western-Central Canada, Alaska, and across Northern Asia. The smallest ones are near the southern fringes of their distribution (Middle East, Arabia, and India). Their fur on the upper body, although commonly gray in color, can also be brown, red, black, or white, while the lower parts and legs are usually pale yellow. Light-colored wolves are common in Arctic regions.”
The majority of grey wolves live in packs of six to ten members, although groups of up to two dozen members are not uncommon. A pack consists of an adult breeding pair (the alpha male and alpha female) and their various-aged pups. A pack is essentially a family group. What allows for the formation of a wolf pack is the ability of wolves to create deep social relationships with one another. An established hierarchy of authority within the pack promotes organisation. The alpha male and alpha female set the group’s direction and continuously demonstrate their authority over subordinates. The alpha female is generally in charge of providing security and caring for the pups, while the alpha male leads the pack in hunting. The duties within the pack are well defined.While both sexes are very active in pursuing and taking down prey, hunting is typically done by yourself in the summer.
Depending on the amount of prey, a pack’s territory can vary from 80 to 3,000 square kilometres (31 to 1,200 square miles), and it is tenaciously guarded against other packs. Wolves use vocalisations, scent markers, and visual clues such as body posture, tail position, and facial expressions to communicate with one another. Through these vocalisations, the pack members form strong social relationships and howling aids in communication among the group. Scent marking with excrement and urine sends a message to nearby packs not to trespass in addition to howling. Local packs tend to kill intruders, yet there are situations when they might be tolerated.
A two-month gestation period and breeding season that usually lasts from February to April result in the birth of five or six puppies in the spring. The pups are typically born in a den that is either built from rocks, hollow logs, overturned stumps, or even abandoned beaver lodges. Alternatively, the pups may be born in a natural burrow. The pups are looked after by the pack as a whole. Adult wolves give the pups regurgitated meat after they have been weaned, which takes six to nine weeks. The puppies become the centre of attention during the spring and summer, along with pack activities centred around raising them. Puppies are typically taken to a “rendezvous site” outside the den, which is higher ground, after a few weeks, where they play and relax while the adults hunt.
Puppies grow quickly, and by the end of summer, they are being carried more frequently and farther away. The puppies should go with the pack as it starts to move within its area again in the autumn. By October or November, the majority of pups grow to adult size.
A few years later, some of the pack’s members depart to locate a mate, claim a new area, and possibly form their own pack. Those who stick with the pack might eventually replace their parents as the alphas who breed new wolves. It seems that senior members of the group quitting the pack and several alphas producing pups lead to larger groups. It is reported that wolves who break away from their pack can cover up to 550 miles (886 km).
In Brief :
Grey wolves are designated as species of greatest conservation need in the State Wildlife Action Plan, state endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), and nationally endangered under the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act. Beginning in 2011, grey wolves naturally recolonized California; the Shasta Pack, which is no longer active, was the first pack to do so in 2015. Three packs are currently recognised in northern California: the Beckwourth Pack (Plumas and Sierra counties), the Lassen Pack (southern Lassen/northern Plumas counties), and the Whaleback Pack (Siskiyou County). The number of lone wolves that have left groups or neighbouring states may be indeterminate. The department closely monitors our overall wolf population and works to conserve grey wolves for their intrinsic and ecological values.