California's lone wolf returns to Oregon

Thumbnail image for or7-medford.jpgOR7's quest has taken him back across the state line, the California Department of Fish and Game announced today. He crossed over yesterday from Siskiyou County, the agency says. Of course, he may be back. He first entered California near the end of December. Oh, and thanks for all the false alarms.

DFG biologists who have been closely monitoring the wolf’s position and progress say they have been impressed with his ability to travel considerable distances into new territory and then return, following a different route, to locations he has previously visited (possibly through his use of scent-marking), sometimes after a few weeks have passed.

Over the past two months, DFG has received many telephone calls and e-mails reporting sightings of OR7, but nearly all of these reports were inconsistent with the satellite location data. Photographs and physical descriptions provided to DFG by the public were consistently determined to be an animal other than a wolf (usually a coyote in winter pelt). In some cases, the available information was insufficient to make any confident determination of the species observed. However, in the past few days OR7 may have been observed in northern Siskiyou County.

In at least one instance, private citizens photographed tracks likely to have been made by OR7. Some of those photographs are available for viewing on DFG’s website.

After traveling 900 miles in California (calculated as air miles, not the actual distance traveled, which was greater), OR7 crossed the state line from Siskiyou County and back into Oregon on March 1. DFG biologists have described his behavior as dispersal, where a young wolf seeks to find a mate or another wolf pack. That search has not been resolved for OR7 in California and his next movements cannot be predicted with any certainty. It remains possible he will return to California in the future.

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