Wolves in California
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Clear historical records from 1750 to 1850 indicate that wolves were once present in the Coastal Range from San Diego to Sacramento when Europeans first began exploring and settling these areas (Schmidt 1987, 1991). From 1850-1900, wolves were seen in Shasta County and in the central Sierra Nevada (Schmidt 1987, 1991). These historical reports of wolves appear in divergent areas of the state; reports surfaced in different areas over time as Europeans shifted from coasts toward inland forests, mountains and plains.
The wolf was known among many California tribes statewide, as demonstrated in language, artwork, ceremonial garb, and creation stories (Geddes-Osborne and Margolin 2001). For example, more than 80 distinct tribal languages were spoken in California when Europeans first arrived and most had clearly differentiated words for wolf, coyote, fox and dog. Some tribes revered the wolf as sacred, though representations of the wolf are diverse among California tribes.
Wolves in California.