California's lone wild wolf crosses back into Oregon
California has lost its wandering wolf.
The gray wolf known as OR7 crossed back into Oregon around noon Thursday, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has been monitoring its GPS collar along with the California Department of Fish and Game.
For two weeks, OR7 had lingered near the Oregon border in Siskiyou County, closely retracing the route that brought him into California on Dec. 28. He had traveled south as far as the outskirts of Susanville over the past two months.
"It's possible OR7 will cross back into California and be using areas in both states," Russ Morgan, Oregon's wolf coordinator, said in a statement.
The wolf is the first known in California in nearly 90 years, since the species was exterminated by hunters and trappers in the early 1900s. His journey from his pack in northeastern Oregon -- normal dispersal behavior to find his own mate and territory -- covered more than 1,000 miles and captivated wildlife lovers across the globe.
OR7 is the progeny of a wolf reintroduction effort begun in 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Northern Rockies. He was born just over two years ago to the first female wolf to cross into Oregon from Idaho.
California wildlife officials believe it is possible a small permanent wolf population will eventually become established in the state, possibly by following the scent trail laid down by OR7.
By Matt Weiser