SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An adventurous young gray wolf that crossed into California from Oregon hasn’t been documented since early April.
Fans of the 2-year-old animal, known as OR-93, fear he has died.
But they also say his collar could be malfunctioning.
The wolf’s radio collar stopped emitting “pings” April 5 in San Luis Obispo County, which is roughly midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The wolf’s long journey has amazed biologists.
Biologists in Oregon fitted OR-93 with a GPS tracking collar in June, near the Portland area where he was born.
He left the pack and crossed into California, padding south to an agricultural area near Fresno before heading west to the Central Coast.
That the gray wolf made it so far was remarkable given that he had to cross three busy highways, wildlife experts said.
State biologists in Oregon and California said they plan to fly over his path with hopes of picking up his signal.
Millions of wolves thrived throughout North America until the 19th and 20th centuries, when they were eradicated by government.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list after determining the overall population was stable.