First Gray Wolf In 80 Years Spotted In California

A lone gray wolf has wandered across the Oregon border into California in what wildlife officials say is the historic return of a species not seen in the state in more than 80 years.

The radio collar on the young male, known to biologists as OR7, indicated the animal crossed into the state around noon Wednesday, December 28. Authorities say the animal is in “dispersal” mode, wandering the rugged California-Oregon border to define a home range and searching for other wolves to establish a pack.

Biologists tracked the wolf’s position to a few miles south of the state line in Siskiyou County, the California Department of Fish and Game said.

GPS Collar Tracked The Wolf

A global positioning system collar was placed on the wolf in February. Its movement into California was widely anticipated as it approached the border just before Christmas.

From CBS News:

“Whether one is for it or against it, the entry of this lone wolf into California is an historic event,” said Department of Fish and Game Director Charlton H. Bonham, acknowledging the debate over the spread of wolves in the western U.S.

The GPS data put the wolf in California as of Wednesday. Officials said they would only provide general information about its location, since gray wolves in California are designated a federally endangered species.

The last confirmed wild gray wolf in California was killed in 1924 by a trapper protecting livestock. Conflict between wolves and ranchers across the West remains a key point of tension as reintroduction efforts in recent decades have led to the species’ spread.

Unclear If The Wolf Will Remain In California

Biologists caution that it’s too soon to know if the animal will stay in California. But because there is no known wolf presence in Northern California, they say, OR7 could very well return north to reunite with some of the 24 wolves believed to be in Oregon.

Wildlife authorities in both states have been monitoring the wolf’s peripatetic movements since September, when the 2 and 1/2-year-old set out from the Crater Lake area toward California. The young wolf, which frequently backtracked, had traveled nearly 800 miles by the end of November.

The fish and game department expects other wolves to arrive in California at some point as part of a slow wolf migration linked to the 1995 introduction of a Canadian gray wolf pack to Idaho and areas around Yellowstone National Park. Wolves first re-entered Oregon in 1999.

Wolves Unwelcome In Much Of The West

While the wolves in California will be under federal protection, state regulators said they have no wolf management plan and no intention to actively reintroduce the animals to the state.

Despite the fascination they hold for many, wolves have long been unwelcome in much of the West. Ranchers and hunters led efforts that nearly eradicated the predator in the lower 48 states by the 1930s.

Wolves began to repopulate in northern Montana in the 1980s and the animal was placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. In the mid-1990s, 66 Canadian wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho.

As of last year, the Northern Rocky Mountain population had grown to an estimated 1,651 wolves. But that number is dropping in the wake of hunts approved in Montana and Idaho after Congress earlier this year removed endangered species protections over much of the population.

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Photo Credit: mk_lynx


Thomas M.
Thomas M4 years ago

Let's hope the wolf survives. The "good guy with a gun" is out there lurking in their own madness waiting to say they killed a big, bad, wolf. The human being continues to prove they have no capacity to live among wildlife in harmony.

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto

Sarebbe bello.

Deborah L.
Deborah L7 years ago


One person felt that the wolves are eating all the wild game animals and are eating all the food that people eat and that we are in competition only with the wolves for meat and it wasn't fair the wolves were eating it all. I wrote back after getting that days estimate of wolves in N.A. just under 3,000. I wrote her back and told her what they actually catch, eat 2-3% of every 100 animals and how does she figure that 7,000,000,000,000 people are starving because of 3,000 wolves here and that there are still 6,999,999,997,000 more people on earth than wolves in N.A., she didn't know but she knew they are starving people to death. It would never occur to her that it is because there are far too many people who have caused this problem.

The more I know people, the more I love my critters.

Deborah L.
Deborah L7 years ago

for wolf lovers check out, they are a good site for info.

The problem with allowing these slaughters is there is no good way to find out when the limit murdered has been reached. One state a few years back wanted to kill like 175* wolves but sold 2,000 permits to kill wolves. How did they think that the hunters would know, like those type care, when the limit has been reached. Most wolf hunters are also big time, ignorant and hostile wolf haters as well# and many are going to exceed their limit and lie about it. And who is going to confront an angry wolf killer with a gun that they have killed too many wolves. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.

* not certain of the total number of wolves that were targeted to be slaughtered-really means all, it is stored somewhere in the computer and I can't find it.

# I have recently posted several wolf themed music from You Tube to my Facebook page. I put out of actual fact information about wolves as I have worked with state wolf restoration since 1988 in Alaska and Michigan and the DNR in Mi. with educating the public about the truth of wolves. So I feel I have the most up to date info about wolves.The ignorance, hatred and hostility some of Y.T's posters responded back to the actual facts absolutely left me stunned. Almost as bad as some of the responses from the Republican people who respond on the Human Events site.

We have certainly managed to dumb down Americans

One person felt th

roy a.
roy allen7 years ago

Nice to hear some wildlife still exists

Tanya K.
Tanya K7 years ago

never mind wishful thinking!!

Tanya K.
Tanya K7 years ago

actually there was a wolf couple by my house in lake Tahoe CA about 10 years ago. the one is in my profile pic for proof and the whiter one im trying to find a photo of. they were there only one winter and traveled together most of the time very beautiful. exciting!

Andrea A.
Andrea A7 years ago

Hope there is hope!

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U7 years ago