MONO COUNTY (CBS13) – A dispersing gray wolf has moved deeper into California than any collared wolf before, traveling from Oregon to Central California likely in search of a new pack or mate, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
Officials said the wolf, named OR-93, is a young male from Oregon's White River pack, southeast of Mt. Hood. According to the CDFW, the wolf was fitted with a tracking collar last June within its pack's territory and has traveled further south in California than any collared wolves before him.
OR-93 is the 16th gray wolf, most from Oregon, to have dispersed into California, the CDFW said. Another wolf, named OR-54, had previously traveled as far south as the Lake Tahoe Basin before turning back up north.
Other wolves that have traveled to and remained in California have settled in the state's northernmost counties, the CDFW said.
The first wolf known to trek into the Golden State, OR-7, visited in 2011. Since 2011, the CDFW said California has seen the formations of two packs – the Shasta Pack in Siskiyou County and the Lassen Pack in Lassen and Plumas counties.
OR-93 landed in Modoc County, in California's northeast corner, in early February and ventured through the eastern part of the state before arriving in Alpine County just this week, the CDFW said. Officials said OR-93 was between Highways 4 and 108 before moving further south to Mono County, east of Yosemite National Park in the Central Sierra Nevada.
At this point, OR-93 is hundreds of miles from his pack's territory.
The CDFW said it will cooperate with the Oregon Department of Fish and WIldlife to continue monitoring OR-93's travels.
Gray wolves are endangered in California and the CDFW said it is working to conserve the state's small population as well as working to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts.
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