CDFW News | Gray wolf in Ventura County Possibly OR-93
Gray wolf in Ventura County Possibly OR-93
Between September 20 and 26, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received three separate reports of a gray wolf with a purple collar in northern Ventura County. CDFW staff have started site inspections and have confirmed recent traces of wolves in the area.
Although the CDFW does not have forensic evidence to confirm this at this time, the wolf could be OR-93. Recent reports match the description of OR-93, which was fitted with a purple tracking collar by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Confederate Tribes in Warm Springs, Oregon in June 2020. The collar has been monitored. by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. (ODFW), but it stopped transmitting in April.
Neither CDFW nor ODFW can determine the current location of the wolf, but if an opportunity presents itself, CDFW may attempt to capture and pick up the wolf to continue tracking its journey. Although historically all of California is a wolf habitat, it is the most southerly of California where a gray wolf has been documented since its capture in San Bernardino County in 1922.
OR-93 is a male wolf born in 2019. He dispersed from the White River pack in northern Oregon. When his collar provided information, he was followed in Modoc County on January 30, 2021. After a brief return to Oregon, he returned to Modoc County on February 4. On February 24, he entered Alpine County after passing through parts of Lassen, Plumas, Sierra Counties, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras. On February 25, he entered Mono County. By mid-March he was in western Tuolumne County. At the end of March, he was in Fresno County, then entered San Benito County after crossing Interstate 99 and Interstate 5. He was in Monterey County on April 1 and his last collar transmission was of San Luis Obispo County on April 5. Until April 5, he had flown at least 935 air miles in California, an average of at least 16 air miles per day.
In August, CDFW received surveillance camera video from May 15, 2021 showing a collared gray wolf in southwest Kern County that could have been OR-93. The surveillance camera records the use of wildlife in a drinking trough on private property. Although the video is from May, the surveillance camera was not verified until August, when it was provided to CDFW.
The CDFW strongly encourages the public to be aware that the wolf population continues to grow in California and to know the difference between wolves and coyotes. Although gray wolves are generally much larger than coyotes, they can sometimes be misidentified. We encourage the public to check out these tips for differentiating between wolves, coyotes, and dogs.
Gray wolves are listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). It is illegal to harass, injure, chase, hunt, shoot, injure, kill, trap or capture gray wolves. Anyone who thinks they’ve seen a wolf in California can report it to CDFW online.
Gray wolves pose very little risk to the safety of humans. The CDFW works to monitor and conserve California’s small wolf population and works with ranchers and various stakeholders to minimize wolf-cattle conflict.
Gray wolf management in California is guided by CESA as well as the CDFW’s Gray Wolf Conservation Plan in California, finalized in 2016. More information is available on the CDFW’s Wolf page.
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352