High-Tech Gray Wolf Roams NorCal

Jan. 6, 2013 — He’s the Magellan of the wolf world—a young male gray wolf who left his northern Oregon home territory to light out for southern climes, defying his species' behavioral norms and confounding state and federal authorities.

Named OR-7 because he was the seventh gray wolf in Oregon to be fitted with a GPS tracking device, the animal logged 1,000 miles to reach northern California about a year ago and has traveled at least another 2,000 miles within the state ever since. Most wolves stay within 100 miles or so of their birthplace. OR-7 is so high tech and adventurous he even has a Twitter account: @Wolf_OR7.

OR-7’s peregrinations are complicating things for California Department of Fish and Game officials, according to AP. Gray wolves are listed as endangered in California by the federal government but not listed at all by state officials, who have considered California to be outside the creature’s range. (The last one was found here in 1924.) The state has already received a petition to list gray wolves as endangered. Northern California ranchers, predictably, hate this idea.

Lest this seem like a freaky outlier situation, consider that gray wolves were extirpated throughout the Northwest until they were re-introduced to the Northern Rockies in the mid-1990s… and then migrated to Idaho, Washington and Oregon, presumably led by a few individuals with OR-7’s brand of wanderlust. Read more at Associated Press.