Missing gray wolf may still be alive in California

Peninsula Premier Admin

The historic journey taken by the gray wolf known as OR-93 deep into California this spring was watched closely by thousands. The cub was the first wolf to be seen near Yosemite in 100 years, then ventured near the Bay Area and down to the central coast on an unprecedented odyssey.First collared in Oregon in 2020, by early April he had traveled at least 935 miles into California, an average of 16 miles a day. But then joy turned to concern as OR-93’s collar signal went dead after a final sighting in San Luis Obispo County on April 5.Fears that the cub had been hunted or perished in his unsure new land grew. Footage now released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has given hope that OR-93 may be alive and well, or at least was a month after the last known sighting.The video from a trail camera in southwestern Kern County is dated May 15, but was only recently discovered by CDFW. It shows a gray wolf drinking from a water trough. “Though CDFW cannot confirm this at this time, it is possible the wolf could be OR-93 because of video evidence of the collar and the last known whereabouts of OR-93,” CDFW’s Jordan Traverso said in a stetement this weekend. “Even though the video evidence is more than three months old, CDFW will immediately investigate the area for additional information in hopes of finding wolf DNA for analysis. CDFW will also conduct flyovers to attempt to connect to the collar through radio telemetry.”If the wolf on camera is not OR-93, it still marks the southernmost sighting of a gray wolf in California since the species returned to the state after a nearly 100-year absence. While gray wolves had been documented in California in the 19th century (though they were often misidentified coyotes), the species was absent from the Golden State for nearly a century until 2011.”When OR-7 crossed the state line, it was the first time we had documentation that a gray wolf had returned to California in 87 years,” Traverso told SFGATE at the time.The gray wolf, a social and often fierce predator, is a legendary creature in the North American story, ranking alongside bald eagles and bison in American folklore.”Gray wolves are an iconic species, important to our Tribes and state folklore, and Californians are very passionate about them,” Traverso said. “I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve seen people get impassioned about few other species like they do wolves. They are charismatic megafauna in California.”Born near Mount Hood in northern Oregon, OR-93’s lonesome journey saw him cross at least 15 county lines and somehow make it across at least three busy freeways. This latest sighting may prove that his journey is not yet over.

The historic journey taken by the gray wolf known as OR-93 deep into California this spring was watched closely by thousands. The cub was the first wolf to be seen near Yosemite in 100 years, then ventured near the Bay Area and down to the central coast on an unprecedented odyssey.

First collared in Oregon in 2020, by early April he had traveled at least 935 miles into California, an average of 16 miles a day. But then joy turned to concern as OR-93’s collar signal went dead after a final sighting in San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

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Fears that the cub had been hunted or perished in his unsure new land grew.

Footage now released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has given hope that OR-93 may be alive and well, or at least was a month after the last known sighting.

The video from a trail camera in southwestern Kern County is dated May 15, but was only recently discovered by CDFW. It shows a gray wolf drinking from a water trough.

“Though CDFW cannot confirm this at this time, it is possible the wolf could be OR-93 because of video evidence of the collar and the last known whereabouts of OR-93,” CDFW’s Jordan Traverso said in a stetement this weekend. “Even though the video evidence is more than three months old, CDFW will immediately investigate the area for additional information in hopes of finding wolf DNA for analysis. CDFW will also conduct flyovers to attempt to connect to the collar through radio telemetry.”

If the wolf on camera is not OR-93, it still marks the southernmost sighting of a gray wolf in California since the species returned to the state after a nearly 100-year absence. While gray wolves had been documented in California in the 19th century (though they were often misidentified coyotes), the species was absent from the Golden State for nearly a century until 2011.

“When OR-7 crossed the state line, it was the first time we had documentation that a gray wolf had returned to California in 87 years,” Traverso told SFGATE at the time.

The gray wolf, a social and often fierce predator, is a legendary creature in the North American story, ranking alongside bald eagles and bison in American folklore.

“Gray wolves are an iconic species, important to our Tribes and state folklore, and Californians are very passionate about them,” Traverso said. “I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve seen people get impassioned about few other species like they do wolves. They are charismatic megafauna in California.”

Born near Mount Hood in northern Oregon, OR-93’s lonesome journey saw him cross at least 15 county lines and somehow make it across at least three busy freeways. This latest sighting may prove that his journey is not yet over.

Contributed by local news sources

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