Story at a glance

  • A 3-year-old gray wolf was found dead in California after a being hit by a truck.
  • Known as OR93, the gray wolf was being tracked by researchers in Oregon.
  • The gray wolf traveled more than 935 air miles over three months, going between Oregon and California.

A gray wolf born in Oregon has been tracked by researchers for the past three years, and officials in California recently declared he died last month after being struck by a vehicle.  

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Nov. 24 that the gray wolf, known as OR93, died from trauma consistent with a vehicular strike. OR93 was a male wolf born in 2019 into the White River pack, managed by Oregon’s Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. 

OR93 was collared by a tribal biologist in June 2020 when he was just 14 months old, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The wolf first landed in California in January last year and would travel back and forth between Oregon. OR93 was known for moving incredibly fast, having gone around 16 counties between the first week of February and the end of March. He traveled more than 935 air miles over three months in search of a mate and territory. 

OR93 even reached Yosemite national park, and, according to The Guardian, turned west and crossed the Central Valley of California, which included crossing three of the state’s busiest roads. 

OR93 managed to cross Highway 99, Interstate 5 and Highway 101.


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However, by early April, OR93’s radio collar stopped working for unknown reasons. In a small miracle, a farmer’s trail camera caught OR93 in May, then in late September, three different people spotted the wolf’s purple collar in California’s Ventura county.

By late November, law enforcement in California confirmed they had found OR93 dead near the town of Lebec. The wolf underwent an autopsy and officials found he had significant tissue trauma to his left rear leg, a dislocated knee and soft tissue trauma to his abdomen.  

“In this annual time of reflection, I thank him (OR93) 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,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.

There are only about 20 known gray wolves in California, with the animal considered an endangered species by the California’s Endangered Species Act. The last documented wolf was recorded in the state back in 1922. According to CDFW, Gray wolves pose very little safety risk to humans, and the group is working to monitor and conserve California’s small wolf population. 


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Published on Dec 06, 2021