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By Tracey Petersen
Tuolumne, CA – State wildlife officials confirm that a gray wolf that made its way from Oregon was tracked in the area between Highways 108 and 4 in Tuolumne County.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reports the animal was in that area yesterday (Wed. Feb. 24th) and is the first known visit of a gray wolf to the county.
The 1-year-old male wolf is being tracked by a collar numbered OR-93 by the department. He is a relation of an Oregon pack named, The White River Pack, according to CDFW. They detail that in 2017, two wolves were documented to be using the White River Wildlife Area and Mt. Hood National Forest, marking the first time multiple wolves were confirmed in Oregon’s North Cascade Mountains. The animals were also observed on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Why the wolf has ventured into the county is unclear, according to county animal control officials. CDFW officials surmise that “like many young wolves, he subsequently left his pack in search of a new territory and/or a mate.” Department biologists add where he will end up is unknown.
CDFW officials stress that gray wolves pose very little safety risk to humans. They offer these tips if anyone should encounter one: do not run, maintain eye contact and make noise while retreating slowly. Additionally, these wolves are covered under the Endangered Species Act in California, which makes it unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, or capture them. Anyone sighting one should report it to CDFW by clicking here or by calling CDFW (530) 225-2300