Authorities reported Wednesday that a gray wolf from Oregon that had delighted scientists as it traveled thousands of miles south into California had been discovered dead after being hit by a car, according to reports.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDWF) claimed in a press release that there was no evidence of foul play in the death of the male wolf known as OR93. Gray wolves are categorized as endangered in California, where they were almost exterminated by the 1920s due to habitat loss.
In February, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that the gray wolf had traveled further into the state than any other collared wolf had before, most likely in search of a new pack or mate.
The wolf was reported as having traveled the farthest south in California since wolves returned to the state before he was killed. The last reported wolf that traveled that far south was caught in San Bernardino County, in 1922, according to the agency.
On Nov. 10, a truck driver reported seeing the dead wolf outside the Kern County town of Lebec, which is roughly 75 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, according to authorities.
An OR93 radio tracking collar that the wolf was wearing enabled a warden who responded to swiftly identify the corpse on a dirt route along a frontage road that ran parallel to Interstate 5, according to the agency.
It was discovered during a necropsy at the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova that the wolf had suffered substantial tissue damage to its left rear limb, as well as a dislocated knee and soft tissue injuries to its belly.
OR93 was born to the White River pack in northern Oregon in 2019. On January 30, 2021, he crossed into California’s Modoc County, momentarily returned to Oregon, then crossed again into California on February 4, 2021, and continued south.
His most recent collar broadcast came from San Luis Obispo County on the central California coast on April 5. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, he had traveled at least 935 miles at that point.