Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Gray Wolf OR-93 shot down and killed near Highway 5

Wolf advocates across the country pondered the bad news this week: The epic journey of a lone gray wolf that ventured out of Oregon to the very edge of a crowded Southern California suburb in search of territory and females ended in a car accident near the interstate. 5 in the city of Lebek, Kern County.

“The relentless wandering of OR-93 gave us hope, inspiration and a glimpse of what it will be like to see wolves running free through California again,” said Amarok Weiss, spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity. “I just wish we could offer him a safer world.”

California’s most adventurous wolf was found dead on November 10 by a truck driver who spotted a carcass on a dirt road near a road that runs parallel to Interstate 5, officials said. wildlife at Rancho Cordova, California, where an autopsy was performed.

An autopsy, which was found about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, showed that OR-93 suffered “significant trauma to the tissue of the left hind leg, dislocation of the knee, and trauma to the soft tissues of the abdomen,” the California Department said. of fish and wildlife said Wednesday. The agency also said it “has determined that the wolf has died from a car hit injury and is unaware of foul play.”

Spurred by an evolutionary adventure to pass on their genetic information to new generations of wolves in a region where they haven’t been seen for over 200 years, OR-93’s record-breaking journeys to California signaled the potential return of a predatory force that some conservationists hoped to correct the wildlands imbalance and make them more stable. and varied.

But it also increased the likelihood of OR-93 going into trouble on the highway, in the suburbs, or on a ranch, where it could be mistaken for an unusually large coyote, trapped and shot as a threat to livestock.

Weiss has been among the wolf defenders and wolf haters who have been keeping a close eye on the unusually large canine predator on the hunt since biologists lost sight of the pings emitted by a purple OR-93 radio collar on April 5 in San Luis Obispo County. , about three hours north of Los Angeles.

By then, state wildlife officials said he had driven at least 935 miles in California, averaging a minimum of 16 miles per day.

The mystery was further deepened by the fact that officials did not pick up the “death signal” from the collar, which would indicate that the beast had stopped moving.

Just a week ago, Weiss walked through the desert in the Los Padres National Forest, not far from where the landowner’s camera recorded a video of a wolf near a gutter in May.

“I dive into this landscape looking for debris, footprints – any sign that the OR-93 is still in motion,” she said. “I haven’t found anything. But I didn’t lose hope because this area is teeming with deer and there is plenty of room to wander. ”

OR-93 was just over a year old when biologists fitted him with a GPS tracking collar near where he was born, south of Mount Hood in western Oregon.

On January 30, he left his backpack and headed south, cruising quickly and leaving a fragrant trail past the lava beds of Northern California, over the snow-covered passages in the Sierra Nevada, on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, and into the agricultural area near Fresno.

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From there, he headed west towards the Central Coast, successfully crossing Highways 99, 5 and 101, the three most dangerous roads in the country.

The GPS Collar gave Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists several downloads of its location every day, which were shared with California Wildlife Authorities.

In California, wildlife authorities were reluctant to disclose details of the wolf’s exact whereabouts for fear it would make it easier for hunters to track and kill the wolf.

The California Pastoralists’ Association, which tracked the wolf’s progress in weekly bulletins, chose not to announce that the OR-93 radio collar had gone silent. Association officials said at the time that the fact that the OR-93 radio collar had stopped emitting signals did not necessarily mean that the wolf was still not roaming the area in search of food.

The fewer than two dozen wolves believed to currently live in Northern California include the Lassen pack, which spans parts of Plumas and Lassen counties; the Beckworth Pack in eastern Plumas County; and a flock of whalers in the eastern part of Siskiyu district. Then there is OR-103, another lone male that made its way to Northern California on May 4th.

Before they were defeated by government-backed poisoning and trapping campaigns, millions of wolves flourished in nearly every region of North America. Today, only about 6,000 remain in Nizhny 48 and as many as 12,000 in Alaska, where they are legally hunted as big game.

Gray wolves were delisted from the federal list of endangered species a year ago after the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the general population was “stable and healthy throughout its current range.”

Since then, Idaho and Montana have passed new laws drastically reducing the wolf population in these states. Environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, have responded with lawsuits that challenged the delisting, calling it premature and unscientific.

Pamela Flick, director of the California program at Defenders of Wildlife, said that “OR-93’s unfortunate demise along Interstate 5 underscores the need for more wildlife crossing facilities across the state to facilitate safe passage for animals and improve human safety.” …

Beth Pratt, regional executive director of the not-for-profit National Wildlife Federation and head of its #SaveLACougars campaign to fund the wildlife crossing of the 10-lane section of Highway 101 in the Santa Monica Mountains, couldn’t agree with much agreement.

“I had to take a long walk after hearing the painful news that OR-93’s wanderings were over,” she said. “At one point he walked within 15 miles of my home near Yosemite National Park – and after that I put up a sign in the driveway: ‘The wolves are back! “

“What hurts deep inside,” she added, “is that OR-93 was just steps from the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch Conservancy when it was confused.

“A few feet away was Shangri-La for the wolves waiting for him and the adventurous female to follow his path to the history books.”

Nation World News Desk
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