California has its first wolf pack since the state's last known wolf was killed in 1924.
State and federal authorities announced Thursday that a trail camera captured photos earlier this month of two adults and five pups in southeastern Siskiyou County. They were named the Shasta pack for nearby Mount Shasta.
The pack was discovered four years after the famous Oregon wandering wolf OR-7 first reached Northern California. OR7 has not been seen in California for more than a year.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
"This news is exciting for California," said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. "We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time."
The pups appear to be just a few months old. In May and July, an adult also was photographed in the vicinity of the cameras, making it likely that wolf is associated with the group of pups, according to wildlife officials.
Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was an amazing accomplishment for wolves to establish in Northern California just 21 years after wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies.
Those wolves eventually migrated into Oregon and Washington before reaching California and are protected by federal and state endangered species acts. The protected status makes it illegal to "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves."
Wolves rarely pose a threat to humans, but wildlife officials said people should never approach or feed the animals.