Because of hunting and habitat loss, gray wolves were almost entirely wiped out in the U.S. by 1920. But thanks to conservation efforts and protections from the Endangered Species Act (passed in 1973), the animal has slowly started to come back.
So last year, when two gray wolves were seen on a camera wandering through the woods of California, wildlife biologists got really excited. There has only been one other pack of gray wolves in the state since the animals were extirpated in the 1920s.
Then, in June, biologists were able to capture and put a tracking collar on the female wolf. “The anesthesia and collaring process went smoothly and the wolf was in excellent condition,” Dr. Deana Clifford, senior wildlife veterinarian with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), said in a release. “Furthermore, our physical examination indicated that she had given birth to pups this spring.”