Beloved Gray Wolf Who Made Headlines For Traveling Through California Has Died

A male, gray wolf known as OR93 only lived two short years, but he made history.

The young wolf was born in northern Oregon in 2019 and a year later he set out on his own to find a mate. A tracking collar was placed on him in June 2020 and that is how he became to be known as OR93.

He made headlines as he traveled down through California and ended up in San Luis Obispo County, the farthest south a wolf has traveled since 1922.

On November 10, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received a call from a truck driver about a deceased wolf along a dirt trail near Interstate 5.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducted a full investigation and examination and said in a news release, “the wolf died from trauma consistent with vehicular strike and does not suspect foul play.”

PHOTO: PIXABAY/CHRISTELS

“I’m devastated to learn of the death of this remarkable wolf,” stated Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “His epic travels across California inspired the world. In this annual time of reflection, I thank him for the hope he gave us and for a brief glimpse into what it would be like for wolves to roam wild and free again. I only wish we’d been able to provide him with a safer world. California has to do so much more to preserve wildlife connectivity and protect animals like OR-93 from car strikes.”

PHOTO: AUSTIN JAMES, JR., CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS

“This is an extremely sad ending to such a hopeful story,” said Pamela Flick, California program director with Defenders of Wildlife. “OR-93 made history with his incredible journey from near Oregon’s Mt. Hood all the way south to Ventura County, crossing numerous major highways along the way. His unfortunate demise along Interstate 5 underscores the need for more wildlife crossing structures throughout the state to facilitate safe passage for animals and increase safety for human travelers.”

PHOTO: PIXABAY/CHRISTELS

Wolves once roamed free in California but were wiped out in the 1920’s. They are slowly returning to the state, but their population remains low. Gray wolves are listed as endangered in California and protected under the California Endangered Species Acts. It is illegal to hunt, kill, or capture a gray wolf and there is no hunting season.