The gray wolf designated OR7 has remained in California since he crossed the state line from Oregon on Dec. 28.
The California Department of Fish and Game is closely monitoring the wolf’s position and progress, and will report on his status through a new website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wolf/.
While OR7 is the only documented wolf in California, any wild gray wolf that returns to California is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The federal law generally prohibits the harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capture or collection of wolves in California, or the attempt to engage in any such conduct. Penalties include fines up to $100,000 and one-year imprisonment.
Though many sightings have been reported, all other recent “wolf” sightings that have been investigated in California have been found to be something else, such as a coyote, a dog or a hybrid wolf-dog.
Despite reports to the contrary, DFG officials say the agency is not aware of confirmed sightings of other wolves in California since 1924.
OR7 is a 2½-year-old male formerly from a pack in northeast Oregon. He is being monitored through various means, including with a Global Positioning System device that periodically transmits its location.
DFG says it is not possible to predict his next movements, but he has remained in eastern Lassen County for approximately one week. DFG is notifying media, local officials and landowners of OR7’s general whereabouts.
DFG officials say they have been following the recovery and migration of gray wolves in western states with the expectation that at some point they will likely reach California.