california lone wolf

The lone wolf of California may not be as lonely as the experts thought.

The gray wolf, known to scientists as OR7 and to wolf advocates as Journey, was spotted last week in Modoc County cavorting with a group of coyotes.

Karen Kovacs, the wildlife program manager for the California Department of Fish and Game, said state biologists, game wardens and a federal trapper were in the southwestern part of the county Tuesday to discuss with ranchers the presence of the wolf, which had been tracked by GPS signals to the area.

Kovacs said two of the three coyotes came up right next to the 90- to 100-pound wolf.

“They were in very close proximity to OR7,” she said. “I think it was kind of a mutual thing. Maybe there had been some prior contact. They did go off in the same direction together, but shortly after that OR7 went off by himself and then disappeared out of view.”

Biologist Richard Shinn snapped only the second known photograph of OR7 before he vanished into the woods. The consensus was that he looked healthy.

The odd flirtation with the coyotes was a surprise considering that wolves and coyotes are normally rivals. Wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park and other locations where the two species intermingle will attack and kill any coyotes seen on their territory.

Department experts said, however, that it is not unheard of for transient gray wolves to befriend coyotes or domestic dogs on their journeys, apparently just for the company.

Read more at California’s lone wolf seen mingling with coyotes.

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