Lone Gray Wolf Still Prowling California One Year Later

A lone gray wolf that wildlife officials have been monitoring with a GPS device is still on the prowl in California a year after his tracking adventure began.

Originally belonging to a pack of wolves located in northeast Oregon, this particular wolf appears to enjoy traveling much more than his brethren. In fact, according to his GPS tracking collar the wolf has roamed approximately 3,000 miles during the past year.

The Associated Press reports that the lone gray wolf is referred to by scientists as OR-7, named for being the seventh wolf from Oregon to be fitted with the tracking device. Wildlife officials followed his movements as he left his Oregon pack behind and headed for California.

OR-7’s miles-long journey is a rare occurrence considering that gray wolves typically remain within 100 miles of their birthplace. California wildlife officials believe that the lone gray wolf is following the migration patterns of deer through the northeast part of the state.

There also remains the possibility that OR-7 is searching for a new wolf pack or trying to find a mate. Unfortunately the odds of achieving either of those goals appear to be slim, according to Karen Kovacs, a state wildlife program manager.

OR-7 is thought to be the first of his species to live in California since 1924 when wolves were eliminated by trappers in an effort to protect cattle from harm.

While the lone gray wolf may continue his journey apart from his brothers, the interest in him displayed by humans is not lacking. OR-7 has his own Twitter account and a website which allow curious followers to see what he’s up to. So far scientists have learned that he enjoys swimming and roaming but does not care for eating cattle or busy highways.

ABC News writes that Richard Callas, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, finds the public fascination with the lone gray wolf to be interesting:

“What strikes me about him is that when I talk to the general public they show remarkable knowledge about his movements, much more than some world events. Wolves captivate public interest. No matter how you feel about wolves, when you see one it’s amazing.”

How do you feel about the lone gray wolf prowling California one year later?