Rare gray wolf spotted in San Luis Obispo County

A gray wolf born in Oregon has been tracked farther south in California than any previous wolf equipped with a GPS collar, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

The most recent collar reading showed the wolf dubbed OR-93 was in San Luis Obispo County.

The young male wolf dispersed from Oregon’s White River pack southeast of Mount Hood and was fitted with the tracking collar in June 2020.

California authorities reported he was in Modoc County in February and in the past few weeks has moved through Tuolumne, Mariposa, Merced, Fresno and Madera counties.

Gray wolves were eradicated in California early in the last century because of their perceived threat to livestock. They were not confirmed to have returned until 2011 when a wolf from Oregon crossed into the Golden State.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered under California law and it is illegal to harass, harm or capture them.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says gray wolves are bigger than coyotes but are sometimes misidentified. OR-93 can be identified by his purple collar.

The department says gray wolves pose little risk to people and it is working with livestock producers to minimize conflicts.