An endangered gray wolf that wandered more than 8,700 miles after leaving her pack in Oregon has died in Northern California.
The remains of the 3-to-4-year-old female wolf, known as OR-54, were found on Wednesday in Shasta County, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding OR-54’s death,” the agency said in a statement.
Scientists have been tracking OR-54 since she was captured in Oregon in October 2017 and fitted with a GPS-radio collar. She got her name because she was the 54th gray wolf collared in the state.
OR-54 was born into the Rogue pack, which is currently active in southern Oregon near Crater Lake.
Her father, OR-7, crossed into California in 2011, and was the first gray wolf in the state since the animals were eradicated there in the 1920s. He’s since returned to Oregon, and formed fhe Rogue pack.
OR-54 left the pack in January 2018 and went California on her own. Wildlife officials said she was probably searching for a mate or a new pack to join.
In December, wildlife officials said she’d covered at least 8,712 miles – an average of 13 miles a day. She mostly traveled around Northeastern California, but she briefly crossed into Nevada, near Reno.
Authorities have not said how she died, or given any specifics about where she was found.
OR-54 was suspected in some livestock deaths last year.
The State of California has not reintroduced gray wolves into the environment, but some have migrated into the state on their own.
The animals are protected under both California and federal Endangered Species Acts.
The Gray Wolf had almost disappeared in the lower 48 US states in the early 20th century.
Last year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list.