An endangered gray wold that wandered more than 8,000 miles through Oregon, California and Nevada was found dead on Wednesday.
OR-54 – a female dispersion wolf believed to be approximately 3 or 4 years old – was found in Shasta County, according to a release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
No cause of death has been released by the state wildlife agency and state officials are investigating the case as gray wolves are protected by both the Federal Engendered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act.
Killing a wolf is punishable by time behind bars.
OR-54 was born into the Rouge Pack in Oregon most likely in 2016 and was a cub of OR-7, the first wolf to return to California in over a century. The wolf is pictured in the summer of 2018, a year after being collared in southern Oregan
OR-54 was spotted on a private trail camera in January. She weighed just 83lbs by the time she was collard by DFW biologists in October 2017
‘This is a tragic development for the early stages of wolf recovery in California,’ Amaroq Weiss, a West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a release.
‘Like her dad, the famous wolf OR-7 who came to California years ago, OR-54 was a beacon of hope who showed that wolves can return and flourish here. Her death is devastating, no matter the cause.’
Weiss later added: ‘We hope OR-54 died a natural death and wasn’t killed illegally. The return of wolves is a major environmental milestone in our state, and the vast majority of Californians want to see wolves recovered here.’
OR-54 was born into the Rouge Pack in Oregon most likely in 2016 and was a cub of OR-7, the first wolf to return to California in over a century, the CDFW states. She was the fourth wolf from the pack to spend time in California.
No cause of death has been released from the state wildlife agency and state officials are investigating the case
OR-54 is known to have traveled more than 8,712 miles since she first entered California
She weighed just 83lbs by the time she was collard by O(Oregon)DFW biologists in October 2017.
On January 24, 2018, OR-54 crossed the state line and into eastern Siskiyou County in California.
While she spent a majority of her time in California, OR-54 did make two return trips to Oregon.
‘She covered more than 7,646 miles after leaving the Rogue Pack,’ the CDFW release states. ‘OR-54 traveled widely in northeastern California, through portions of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties.’
OR-54 is known to have traveled more than 8,712 miles since she first entered California two years ago.
OR-54 is said to have crossed into the south side of Interstate 80 in late September 2019, spending some time going back and forth between California and Nevada.
The CDFW say that OR-54’s travels represent the ‘southernmost known wolf locations in the state since wolves returned in 2011.’
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, a wolf was illegally killed in Northern California.
There are believed to be approximately a dozen wolves living in California, with most coming from the Lessen pack while others are lone wolves.
The Lassen pack was confirmed in 2017 and frequents the Lassen and Plumas counties.