It's been a few weeks since we learned that collared wolf OR-54 had left Oregon for Northern California, presumably to find a mate. Is she still there, or did she come back like other wolves have?
— Jason, Medford
We at Since You Asked Central were wondering the same thing, even asking out loud, "OR-54, where are you?"
And the answer is: still in Northern California, says Pete Figura, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's wildlife management supervisor in Redding.
OR-54, a 2-year-old in April who is most likely one of the offspring of Rogue Pack patriarch OR-7, apparently crossed from Oregon into eastern Siskiyou County on or around Jan. 24 and has remained there ever since.
GPS coordinates show she has remained in eastern Siskiyou and eastern Shasta counties, according to GPS coordinates collected by Oregon biologists and relayed regularly to their California counterparts, Figura says.
At the time she crossed the border, biologists suspected that she may be “dispersing,” or striking out on her own in search of a mate or another pack.
Figura says biologists have gone into the field to check for wolf tracks where the GPS coordinates say OR-54 was, and they've found just a single set of wolf tracks — so she is traveling alone.
But that doesn't necessarily means she's dispersing. Remember, Jason, that previously wolf OR-25 made four documented trips into California but each time returned to Oregon, Figura says.
OR-54′s departure leaves the Rogue Pack officially at six animals, at least for now.
Her departure also means there are currently no Rogue Pack members fitted with an active GPS collar to track the pack’s whereabouts. Using OR-54′s collar, biologists were able to pin three livestock kills on the pack last month at a ranch between Prospect and Butte Falls.
Plans are to try to get a GPS unit on a Rogue Pack member by trapping and collaring it this spring.
— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to email@example.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.