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Elusive California wolf OR7 is photographed

May 11, 2012|By Bettina Boxall
  • California's only known wolf in the wild, known by his Oregon name OR7, was seen this week in Modoc County. This is the only color photo of the wolf; it was taken by a Department of Fish and Game employee.
California's only known wolf in the wild, known by his Oregon name… (Richard Shinn, California…)

The first color photo of California’s celebrity gray wolf, OR7, was taken this week as he loped across a sagebrush-covered hill in Modoc County.

Thanks to his GPS collar, people around the world have been able to follow the young wolf’s journeys as he traveled from his home pack in northeastern Oregon, crossed into California in late December and then trotted around the wilds of far Northern California and southern Oregon, the first of his kind recorded in the Golden State since the 1920s.

For the last couple of months he has wandered back and forth across the state border, most recently spending time in Modoc County. Tuesday, state fish and game staff were visiting ranchers, advising them that the wolf was in their area, when they spotted OR7 in the distance running across private land.

“All of a sudden, out pops a head, and there he is,” Karen Kovacs, wildlife program manager for the California Department of Fish and Game, told the Associated Press. “He appeared very healthy.”

State wildlife biologist Richard Shinn snapped a photo -- the first in color and one of the few taken of the elusive animal -- and the department posted it on its website.

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