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Gray Wolf Photo by Austin Smith

Lone wolf goes radio silent

OR-93’s signal was last transmitted from San Luis Obispo County in April.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, radio contact with grey wolf OR-93, who entered San Benito County on March 27 or 28, has been lost and his status is unknown. His last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

It’s unclear why the signal has been lost. It could be that the batteries have died or the collar has malfunctioned in some other way. The department has not picked up a mortality signal, which occurs when the collar device has not moved for eight hours.

Tracking data from the California and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife say OR-93, a male yearling wolf dispersed from the White River pack in northern Oregon, initially entered Modoc County on Jan. 30.

After briefly returning to Oregon, OR-93 reentered Modoc County on Feb. 4. On Feb. 24, he entered Alpine County after passing through portions of Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties.

On Feb. 25, he entered Mono County. In mid-March, he was in western Tuolumne County. By late March he was in Fresno County, and then entered San Benito County after crossing Highway 99 and Interstate 5. He then entered Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties.

By April 5 he had traveled at least 935 air miles (1,075 land miles) in California, a minimum average of 16 air miles (18.4 land miles)  per day.

In recent years, the California grey wolf population has increased with the Beckwourth Pack, a new pack found in Plumas County. The pack was confirmed in May 2021 when three wolves were photographed by trail camera. Tracks of two wolves had been observed in the area in February. It’s unknown if the pack is reproductive.

The grey wolf is protected under the California Endangered Species Act and the hunting, pursuing, catching, capturing, killing of one, or attempting to do any of these things can result in jail time or a fine of up to $100,000.


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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.