We at KIBS/KBOV are saddened to learn that unfortunately, on November 10, OR93 , the most southern-traveled gray wolf in California was found dead near Interstate 5 in Lebec, in Kern County.
We’ve been following the travels of the Southern Oregon-born wolf since his tracking collar reported him in northern Mono County on February 25. He then traveled through Yosemite.
By late March he was in Fresno County, and then entered San Benito County after crossing Highway 99 and Interstate 5. He was in Monterey County on April 1 and his last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County on April 5. Up until the loss of the collar signal, he had traveled 935 air miles – about 16 miles per day.
A few months ago he was spotted in Kern County, showing up at night on a rancher’s water trough camera. Calif. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife tried to restart the collar’s tracking with flights over the area.
On the afternoon of November 10, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received a phone call from a truck driver who witnessed a deceased wolf along a dirt trail near a frontage road running parallel to I-5.
A CDFW warden quickly responded to the scene. Wolfie was quickly identified as OR93, because of his collar.
Following a full investigation CDFW determined the wolf died from trauma consistent with vehicular strike and does not suspect foul play.
The carcass was transported to the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova where a complete necropsy was performed. 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 injuries were deemed to be caused by a vehicle strike.
Native Gray wolves became extinct in California in 1922. CDFW reports that the wolf population continues to grow in California, coming from other states, and are known to travel and roam long distances, as Wolfie did.
Gray wolves are listed as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act (CESA). It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap or capture gray wolves. Gray wolves pose very little safety risk to humans. Gray wolves are generally much bigger than coyotes, they can sometimes be misidentified. with coyotes and even large dogs.
“Wolfie, named by this reporter, against a CDFW recommendation of applying human characteristics to wild animals, just wanted to be free and run through the Golden State. We were honored to have watch your journey!