Information provided by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced OR93, the grey wolf who came through San Benito County in late March was found dead near Interstate 5 near the town of Lebec in Kern County. Following a full investigation and necropsy, Fish and Wildlife determined he died from trauma consistent with a vehicular strike. The agency does not suspect foul play.
According to a press release, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received a phone call Nov. 10 from a truck driver who witnessed the deceased wolf along a dirt trail near a frontage road running parallel to Interstate 5. A warden responded to the scene to collect the carcass which was identified as OR93 because of its collar.
“The carcass was transported to the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova, California where a necropsy was performed,” Fish and Wildlife said. “He had significant tissue trauma to the left rear leg and a dislocated knee as well as soft tissue trauma to the abdomen. The injuries were determined to have been caused by a vehicle strike.”
The release added that young gray wolves can disperse very long distances from their natal area. OR93 was documented traveling the farthest south in California since wolves returned to the state, which is historically wolf habitat. The last documented wolf that far south was captured in San Bernardino County in 1922.
Fish and Wildlife said OR93 was a male wolf born in 2019. He dispersed from the White River pack in northern Oregon and was tracked entering Modoc County on Jan. 30, 2021. After briefly returning to Oregon, he reentered Modoc County on Feb. 4. On Feb. 24, he entered Alpine County after passing through portions of Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties. On Feb. 25, he entered Mono County. In mid-March, he was in western Tuolumne County. By late March he was in Fresno County, and then entered San Benito County after crossing Highway 99 and Interstate 5. He was in Monterey County on April 1 and his last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County on April 5. Through April 5 he had traveled at least 935 air miles in California, a minimum average of 16 air miles per day.