Scientists have been tracking OR-54 since she was captured in OR in October 2017 and fitted with a GPS-radio collar. One of the last wolves in California, OR-59, was found dead after being shot back in 2018.
"It covered more than 7,646 miles after leaving the Rogue Pack", the CDFW statement said.
She declined Thursday to elaborate on where OR-54 was found in Shasta County or provide other details, citing the pending death investigation. That case is still unsolved.
Researchers say OR-54 was 3 or 4 when she died. Her tagging in 2017 was a happy find.
Then, on December 9, 2018, OR biologists received a "mortality signal" from its collar indicating the wolf had died, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. State wildlife officials previously said the female wolf was "exploring new ground in search of a mate or another pack". The tracking collar on the famous OR-7, the founding member of that pack, had stopped working years prior, and officials had not been able to place a new tracking device on any of the protected animals in the area for several years, the Oregonian then reported.
& # 39; Like his father, the famous wolf OR-7 who came to California years ago, OR-54 was a beacon of hope that showed that wolves can return and flourish here.
OR-54 was born into the Rouge Pack in OR most likely in 2016 and was a cub of OR-7, the first wolf to return to California in over a century.
Gray wolves are covered under both the Federal Endangered Species Act, as well as the California Endangered Species Act, the fish and sildlife department says. He later returned to OR and started what is known as the Rogue Pack, where OR-54 was born. She even crossed the state line into Nevada last fall. She was the fourth wolf from the pack to spend time in California.
OR-7 later returned to Oregon. She briefly sneaked into Nevada.
In December, officials said OR-54 had traveled a "minimum distance of 8,712 miles at an average of 13 miles/day" since January 23, 2018.
"This is a tragic development for the early stages of wolf recovery in California", said Amaroq Weiss, a West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Her death is devastating, no matter the cause", Weiss added. "It's surprising to most". She could have choked on the liver of a raccoon, which happened to a wolf in Yellowstone.
Except for a few run-ins, OR-54's journey appeared mostly solitary. The number 54 indicates that she was the 54th wolf to have been tracked in Oregon.
Fewer than a dozen wolves are estimated to remain in the state, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. For the next two years, the wolf known by scientists OR-54 wandered through mountains and pastures, occasionally killing livestock for food. But she didn't stay for long. She was also suspected in at least five livestock attacks.
Wolves have always been despised by ranchers and farmers, an industry whose influence wildlife advocates in part blame for reluctance at the state and federal level to develop recovery plans for the controversial predators. His arrival eventually prompted California's Fish and Game Commission, over the objections of ranchers and deer hunters, to vote to protect gray wolves under the state's Endangered Species Act.