The wild wolf named OR7 that was predicted to move into California from Oregon, did so on December 28th. The California Dept. of Fish and Game is tracking the 2.5 year-old male and as of January 11, he was north of Susanville and east of Mount Shasta. There is a deliberate delay in updating OR7′s map maintained by the CA Dept. of Fish and Game, to not disclose his most current location in order to protect him from people who might try to hurt or kill him. For example, in Montana a hunter’s group offered $100 per dead wolf, to encourage shooting of them in the state’s legal hunt.
OR7 is protected in California under the federal Endangered Species Act, so anyone who should shoot him would be subject to stiff punishment.His movements are being tracked by a collar with GPS technology, and information about him is being shared by the California authorities with those in Oregon. He was born into a wild pack in Oregon and moved into California looking for a mate – which he won’t find because he currently is the only wolf there.
So far it has not been reported that he has attacked any livestock, but because he came from a pack that did so in Oregon, it has been anticipated that he probably will. At a meeting with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, concern for multiple wolves entering the area and damaging livestock was expressed by ranchers. Conservationists vocalized appreciation for the presence of OR7.
The last confirmed sighting of a wild wolf in California was in 1924. They were wiped out by hunters and trappers. The state of California is not intentionally reintroducing wild wolves, as they were in Idaho and Yellowstone some years ago.
Some research has been conducted into the potential of wild wolves to reestablish themselves in California, and it was determined they could do this because there is enough forested land (where they typically live) and an adequate wild ungulate presence in the form of mule-deer, for them to hunt and consume.
Image Credit: Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Note: Wolves depicted above are in Oregon and from the same pack as OR7.