SAN FRANCISCO — State wildlife officials say a new gray wolf couple appears to be courting in rural northeastern California.
The Sacramento Bee reports that officials confirmed Wednesday that the pair has been in Lassen County likely since late last year.
Wildlife officials say an animal that appeared to be a wolf was captured on motion-activated trail cameras last fall. Since then, officials also received photographs, found tracks and received eyewitness sightings suggested that there were actually two wolves traveling together, the newspaper reported.
Tests show the male wolf was born into the Rogue Pack of Southern Oregon in 2014 and most likely entered Lassen County in late 2015 or 2016.
The founder of the Rogue Pack is OR-7, a well-known gray wolf who generated international interest when he became the first wild wolf in nearly 100 years to venture into Northern California.
OR-7's arrival led to a decision by state wildlife officials to grant gray wolves endangered species protections.
Photos taken in 2014, also by remote camera, confirmed that OR-7 had at least three pups.
It's not immediately clear from the DNA tests where the female came from. Wolves can travel hundreds of miles when they leave their packs in search of mates.