OR7, the wandering gray wolf, leaves California, returns to Oregon
The lone gray wolf wandered hundreds of miles through wilderness, mountains and highways into California with a tremendous fanfare, his entry late last year heralded as a possible return for a species that hasn't been recorded in the state since 1924.
Now, it appears he has returned to Oregon, officials from the California Department of Fish and Game said Friday.
The gray wolf with a name more "Star Wars" robot than lupine -- OR7 -- had been tracked as he trekked more than 1,000 miles in Oregon from September through December.
On Dec. 28, he crossed into California, igniting the hopes of conservationists -- not to mention the fears of ranchers -- that OR7 could be the start of a repatriation of the species.
Biologists for the Department of Fish and Game have been monitoring OR7's position, and said they have been impressed by the wolf's ability to travel long distances and return to previously visited locations using different routes -- sometimes even after weeks have gone by.
During his stay in California, which lasted just more than two months, OR7 has traveled more than 900 miles, venturing through eastern Siskiyou County, northeast Shasta County and spent a few weeks in Lassen County.
He entered Oregon through Siskiyou County on Thursday.
-- Rick Rojas
Photo: A photo from a trail camera appears to show OR7 in Oregon on Nov. 14, 2011. Credit: Allen Daniels