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California to protect wandering gray wolf from Oregon

October 4, 2012 |  2:06 pm

GrayWolf_OR-10_ODFW

California’s only known wild wolf — who divides his time between southern Oregon and Northern California counties — will receive special protection the next time he meanders into the state.

California’s Fish and Game Commission this week approved a petition asking it to study listing the 2-1/2-year-old gray wolf -- known to scientists as OR7 -- under the state’s endangered species act. The decision affords immediate protection for the wolf while the yearlong review is undertaken.

The young male left his pack in northeastern Oregon last year and roamed nearly 1,000 miles, seeking to find a mate and establish his own territory. Conservation groups nicknamed the wandering lone wolf "Journey.”

Because he is fitted with a radio collar, the animal’s movements have been closely watched. When OR7 crossed the border in late December, he became the first wild wolf recorded in California since 1924.

Several environmental groups filed petitions with the commission, seeking protection for the wolf. After hearing hours of testimony Wednesday, the state board agreed to conduct a scientific review, which will determine if the wolf warrants permanent protection.

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--Julie Cart 

Photo: A gray wolf in Oregon. Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

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