By Mackenzie Shuman

In a historic journey, a lone gray wolf from Oregon has traveled into San Luis Obispo County in search of a new mate or new pack, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

It’s likely the first time in nearly 200 years that a gray wolf, which is an endangered species protected under state law, has been known to be in the Central Coast region.

OR-93, named by the Oregon biologists who trapped and fitted him with a GPS collar in June, has journeyed nearly 1,000 miles from the Mt. Hood region in Oregon where he was born.

”As of the last collar reading, OR-93 crossed U.S. Route 101 and is in San Luis Obispo County,” the CDFW posted Tuesday on its gray wolf updates website.

The wild animal’s appearance poses some concerns from wildlife advocates.

Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, said she’s “awestruck” that OR-93 has traveled to San Luis Obispo County.

She’s also a little worried because it is “extremely, extremely unlikely” that he will find a mate here, she said.

“I would be just gobsmacked to think that there might be any other wolves that are out there” in San Luis Obispo County, Weiss said. “His best hope for finding a mate is if he can safely backtrack and get back over to the eastern side of the state.”

Weiss noted that San Luis Obispo County is more heavily populated than the Northern California counties where there are more gray wolves. So, the likelihood of OR-93 getting hit by a car or shot by someone is perhaps higher on the Central Coast than in other parts of the state, she said.

“Wolves are fully protected in California under the California Endangered Species Act. It’s illegal to kill a wolf,” Weiss said. “My big hope is that people know that there’s a wolf in their area and know that it’s not a coyote.”

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