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Sadly, Rare Gray Wolf Found Dead

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Tuolumne County, CA – A rare gray wolf, OR93, whose travels in California from Oregon captured the attention of the public throughout this year, sadly has been found dead.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officials announced the sad news today detailing that on Nov. 10th, OR93 was found deceased near Interstate 5 near the rural town of Lebec, south of Bakersfield in Kern County (A map is below). In a written release, they disclosed that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife got “a phone call from a truck driver who witnessed the lifeless wolf lying along a dirt trail near a frontage road running parallel to I-5. A CDFW warden responded to the scene to collect the carcass which was quickly identified as OR93 because of its collar.”

A full investigation and necropsy or autopsy were conducted at the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova. It found  that the wolf had “significant tissue trauma to the left rear leg and a dislocated knee as well as soft tissue trauma to the abdomen.”  The CDFW advised in the release that it “has determined that the wolf died from trauma consistent with a vehicular strike and does not suspect foul play.”

Clarke Broadcasting has followed the male wolf’s journey after he first appeared in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties in February. He revisited Tuolumne County in March. In April, pings from its purple radio collar stopped while it was wandering San Luis Obispo County. Then in September, while his collar was still not working, there were three separate wolf sightings in northern Ventura County (north of Los Angeles) of a wolf that had on a purple collar. Further details on OR93’s timeline in California are detailed here.

OR93 was born in 2019. He left the White River pack in northern Oregon and entered California through Modoc County in January, according to the CDFW. Gray wolves are listed as endangered in California. CDFW noted that it “is working to monitor and conserve California’s small wolf population and is collaborating with livestock producers and diverse stakeholders to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts.” More information is available on the CDFW’s wolf webpage, click here.