Could California's only known wild wolf be headed back to its home state of Oregon?
The male gray wolf cataloged as OR7, who made headlines after ranging across much of Oregon and entering California on Dec. 28, 2011, is presently in southwest Modoc County, which borders Oregon and Nevada.
That's the farthest north he has been since last May.
OR7, which returned to Oregon briefly two months after first entering California, had spent the past several months in Plumas, Tehama and Lassen counties. His most southerly position was Butte County.
The wolf's collar is fitted with a GPS unit that allows scientists to track its whereabouts. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife issues daily updates and Thursday's placed the wolf in Modoc County.
During that May visit to Modoc County Richard Shinn, a DFW employee, captured the only known color image of OR7 (pictured top right).
The wolf is 4 years old and presumably searching for a mate. Perhaps his instincts are luring him back to a state that boasts an estimated minimum wolf population of 53, including seven packs and at least five breeding pairs.
OR7 hails from the Imnaha pack in northeast Oregon. His first entry into California was via Siskiyou County, just west of Modoc County.