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Conservationists stunned after capturing footage of endangered pack of animals: 'Demonstrates the species' amazing ability'

"I feel so fortunate to bear witness to the return."

"I feel so fortunate to bear witness to the return."

Photo Credit: iStock

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released stunning footage of a pack of gray wolves howling in the night, showcasing the remarkable return of this endangered species.

The pack was previously spotted in the area last year, though it was reported to be only a pack of five. The footage in the video captured by the CDFW shows at least seven gray wolves. According to biologists, this pack, named the Yowlumni Pack, is believed to consist of a breeding pair and six pups. The pack got its name from the Yowlumni band of the Tule River Yokuts.

"This was described by my mother, Agnes Vera, who was born on the Tule River Indian Reservation in 1926," said Vernon Vera, a Tule River Tribe elder. "She was the last fluent speaker of Yowlumni until her passing in 2010. She taught that the Yowlumni were speakers of the 'Wolf Tongue.'"

Gray wolves were hunted to extinction in California in the 1920s. However, with protections from the Endangered Species Act and, indirectly, the clearing of habitats due to wildfires, packs of gray wolves have flourished over the past year. The CDFW even reported that two other packs were also confirmed in the state.

"These awe-inspiring animals continue to show us that California's wild landscapes are great habitat for wolves and that they'll find their way here," said Amaroq Weiss, a senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "I feel so fortunate to bear witness to the return of these top-level carnivores to California. Not only are wolves essential to healthy, wild nature, they also have for thousands of years been integral to the human spirit and imagination and a symbol of our connection to the wild."

The footage captured of the Yowlumni pack by the CDFW is a rare look into the beautiful communication these wolves display with one another and their ability to survive despite long odds.

"Wolves are generalists," says Karen Hodges, an ecologist at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. "As long as they have prey, they're capable."

"This recently detected group of wolves is at least 200 straight-line miles from the nearest known California pack," said Pamela Flick, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, "and demonstrates the species' amazing ability to disperse long distances and take advantage of the state's plentiful suitable habitat."

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