It's impossible to know what the wolf was feeling as she awakened from a deep slumber on that warm summer day in 2006. Did the silver-gray beast notice the radio tracking collar now adorning her neck, affixed by biologists while she was unconscious? Either way, when the drugs wore off, she simply lumbered away into the distance. Nobody could have known that the animal from then on called B-300 would make lupine history as the matriarch of a family tree that spans Idaho, Oregon, and California.
"Through [GPS] cluster data and scat, we know that they're eating deer most of the time. There is cattle in there, but wolves are able scavengers, more than happy to feed on a cattle carcass, so those are in the mix, too," says Kent Laudon, the only full-time wolf biologist employed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife—and the first in perhaps a century to hold that job description—of the Lassen Pack. They are living proof that wolves can thrive, mostly peacefully, in California.