Oregon’s wandering wolf OR-7 has left the state. According to a press release sent out by California’s Department of Fish and Game, the wolf is now in northern Siskiyou County – 300 miles from where he left the Imnaha pack in northeast Oregon. It’s the first confirmed wolf in California since 1924, when the last wolf was killed in Lassen County.
Officials are tracking the wolf’s movements through a radio collar. The latest data puts the wolf within a few miles of the California/Oregon border, so it’s possible he could still come back. If he doesn’t, does he get a new name – CA-1, maybe?
Because the wolf has roamed out of the eastern portion of Oregon, it is now protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon and Washington, as well as those in Montana and Idaho, were removed from the endangered list earlier this year. California officials are gearing up for the task of handling wolves:
“Whether one is for it or against it, the entry of this lone wolf into California is an historic event and result of much work by the wildlife agencies in the West,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham. “If the gray wolf does establish a population in California, there will be much more work to do here.”
According to CDFG, agency officials are collecting historic data, reviewing studies from other states and talking with officials about best practices. However, the agency says it’s not building a wolf management plan and doesn’t intend on reintroducing wolves to the state.