A young male gray wolf, currently called OR-93, who traveled to Northern California by way of Oregon last January, can look forward to having a new companion soon.
According to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, another male wolf, OR-103, has followed the trek and traveled to North California from Oregon. He is the second documented wolf to have done this, wandering hundreds of miles south and arriving in northeastern Siskiyou County, May 4.
His pack remains unknown but he was traced back to his original location through the signal on his GPS collar. He was originally from Deschutes County
“We’re thrilled that California’s tiny population of wolves is growing,” Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release. ‘
Gray wolves are originally natives of California but the species were hunted by farmers who were concerned for the well-being of their livestock in the 1920s. Over the years, individual wolves from outside of the state are slowly making their return to California. However, one of the newly formed packs disappeared in 2015 and the species lost federal protection as endangered species in 2020.
The wolves’ population is being monitored under the California Endangered Species Act. However, not all states support this.
“Thankfully OR-103 came here, where there are full state protections in place, and not Idaho, whose governor just signed into law a bill allowing hunters to kill most of the state’s wolves,” said Weiss.
Just last week, the governor of Idaho Brad Litte approved of an order that could result in the deaths of the state’s 1,500 wolves. This was heavily opposed by environmentalists, including Weiss.
The newly-approved law states that the state can hire private contractors to kill wolves and has even received the funding to do so. Other than that, an unlimited number of wolves can now be killed under a single hunting using new methods such as aerial gunning from helicopters and by chasing the wolves on snowmobiles and ATVs.
Wolf pups can also be killed on private land.
Little said that the intent of the law was to reduce attacks on livestock.
“Californians understand that sharing the landscape with wildlife is the right thing to do,” said Weiss, noting the Center for Biological Diversity is now urging Little to veto the bill.