If you live in the west, wolves are a always a hot topic. Some see them as valuable parts of the ecosystem, while others see them as pure killers that destroy valuable livestock. Once one of the most widespread species in North America, the gray wolf population was decimated by humans across the continent into the 1930s. Now the only populations in the lower 48 are confined to remote regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon.
That’s all changing though as wolf “OR-54,” known as the “traveling maniac,” was tracked via radio collar to the Truckee area last week. Her brief visit near Boreal Mountain was the first confirmed wolf in the area since the early 1900s. This is OR-54’s second trip to California this year after traveling over 500 miles through the state in January and February. She’s roughly 640 miles into her current tour of California.
OR-54 is believed to be the offspring of the famed OR-7, who was the first gray wolf confirmed in California in over 90 years. Now the alpha male of Oregon’s Rogue Pack, OR-7 has been fathering litters since 2014 with a few of his offspring having been tracked south across the border in search of new territory.
With plenty of prime wolf territory in the northern part of the state, its’ only a matter of time before wolves move back in to California. State wildlife officials estimate that a sustainable wolf population could exist in the state as soon as 2024, if it doesn’t already. Pretty cool…or terrible depending on your view.