Biologists Hoping To Get New Ping From California’s Wandering Wolf

CDFW Photo of OR-93, the nomadic California gray wolf that biologists have lost track of.

My great friend Steve and I have swapped many texts the past few weeks with the following greeting, “Any wolf updates?”

How any outdoors enthusiast not be fascinated by the plight of OR-93, the gray wolf, part of a series of lupine critters that have made their way in and out of Northern California the past few years).

OR-93 has even explored more of the state than his predecessors. This wolf has gone walkabout, his collar pinging in stops as far south as Fresno County’s high country and the San Joaquin Valley floor (he somehow crossed over Interstate 5). He even supposedly wandered close to the Bay Area region before heading into Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties. But as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, OR-93’s current whereabouts are unknown without his collar activating for a while:

The lack of a signal could mean the battery died, the collar is otherwise malfunctioning or that he’s settled down in a location where the signal can’t be traced.

It’s also possible that OR-93 has died. But according to wildlife officials, the tracking device hasn’t emitted a “mortality signal” that sounds when the wolf hasn’t moved for at least eight hours.

“There are so many variables, it’s difficult to know what is really happening,” said Jordan Traverso, a Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman.

What is known is that OR-93 has traveled a very long way in the past year. According to Traverso, GPS readings from the collar indicate that he covered at least 935 air miles (not counting the uphills and downhills) from February through April, an average of about 16 miles a day. No credible sightings have occurred since before April 5.

Here’s hoping OR-93 is alive and well and enjoying his tour of the Golden State. You can both myself and Steve want to know what his next adventure awaits him.