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Oregon-born gray wolf dies after ‘epic’ California trek

Oregon-born gray wolf that thrilled biologists as it traveled far to Southern California was found dead after apparently being hit by a vehicle

SACRAMENTO, Calif .– An Oregon-born gray wolf who delighted biologists on his way far to southern California has been found dead after apparently being struck by a vehicle, authorities said on Wednesday.

No foul play was suspected in the death of the male wolf known as OR93, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a press release. Gray wolves are listed as endangered in California, where they were wiped out in the 1920s.

“Prior to his disappearance, he was documented traveling the most southerly to California since the wolves returned to the state, which is historically home to wolves. The last wolf documented this far south was captured in San Bernardino County in 1922, ”the department said.

A truck driver reported spotting the dead wolf on November 10 near the town of Lebec, in Kern County, about 120 kilometers northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The carcass was located along a dirt road near a road parallel to Interstate 5, and a guard who responded quickly identified the wolf as OR93 due to a radio tracking collar he was wearing. , the department said.

An autopsy performed at Rancho Cordova’s Wildlife Health Laboratory found that the wolf had suffered significant tissue trauma in his left rear leg, dislocated knee, and soft tissue trauma in the abdomen.

OR93 was born to the White River pack in northern Oregon in 2019. He moved to California’s Modoc County on January 30, 2021, returned briefly to Oregon, then re-entered California on February 4, and headed south.

His last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County, on the central coast, on April 5. By that time, he had traveled at least 1,505 kilometers (935 miles) in California, the Department of Wildlife said.

OR93 was one of a small number of gray wolves that began to come to California from other states.

“I am devastated to learn of the death of this remarkable wolf, whose epic journeys through California inspired the world,” Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“In this annual period of reflection, I thank him for the hope he has given us and for a brief overview of what it would be like for wolves to roam free and loose again,” Weiss said.

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