Wolf's 8,700-Mile Journey Ends in Death

OR-54 was found dead on Wednesday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2020 10:34 AM CST
8,700-Mile Journey for a Mate Ends in Death
This undated photo released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows the wolf OR-54, a descendant of the famous OR-7, the first wild wolf in California in nearly a century.   (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

The endangered female gray wolf known as OR-54 is dead, and with it her 8,700-mile fruitless journey for a mate. The Sacramento Bee reports Oregon wildlife biologists got a GPS-tracking collar on her in October 2017, and her "incredible journey" has been closely watched since. She entered California in late January 2018 and subsequently traveled around the state, touched part of Nevada, and twice returned to Oregon. Per December data, she had traveled at least 8,712 miles since she first left Oregon; that's an average of 13 per day. OR-54's other claim to fame: She was sired by OR-7, famous for becoming the first wild wolf in California in 88 years.

Her remains were found Wednesday in Shasta County, California; a death investigation will be conducted. The Bee notes that GPS data indicated she came in close contact with another worn by a member of the California Lassen Pack, but she resumed her solo journey just a few hours later. In a news release, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife offered a reminder to the public "that killing a wolf is a potential crime and subject to serious penalties including imprisonment." The AP notes the potential penalties also include a fine of up to $100,000. While it's unclear whether OR-54 died from natural or accidental causes or at the hands of a human, the wolf did raise the ire of some: She's believed to have killed a handful of livestock in Plumas County. (Read more gray wolf stories.)

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