Damon Arthur, Redding Record Searchlight
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward up to $2,500 for information about the shooting of an endangered gray wolf in Modoc County in December 2018.
Fish and wildlife spokesman John Heil said that a year after the wolf was shot the agency was running low on leads in the case and decided to seek help from the public by offering a reward for information.
The wolf, known as OR-59, was originally from northeast Oregon but had traveled south, crossing into California in early December 2018, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Another wolf, dubbed OR-7, became famous in 2011 for being the first wolf in California since the 1920s, was also originally from northeast Oregon.
OR-7 crossed from Oregon into Siskiyou County in December 2011. He continued to travel throughout Northern California, including Shasta, Tehama and Plumas counties, until April 2013 when he returned to southern Oregon, according to the state.
OR-59’s trek into California didn’t last long. The male gray wolf, who was 1½-years-old was found dead later in December 2018 along County Road 91, according to the fish and wildlife service.
The wolf had been wearing a satellite tracking collar. Investigators have determined the wolf was shot by a .22-caliber weapon, federal fish and wildlife service officials said.
Members of a wolf pack in Lassen County were photographed using a trail camera. (Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Gray wolves are protected under federal and state endangered species laws, officials said.
“This wolf mortality is currently under criminal investigation conducted by CDFW’s law enforcement division,” officials said on the state’s fish and wildlife page.
“CDFW takes very seriously any threats to this recovering wolf population and will investigate fully any possible criminal activity in these deaths. CDFW reminds the public that killing a wolf is a potential crime and subject to serious penalties including imprisonment,” officials said on the state wildlife website.
The fish and wildlife service is asking anyone with information about the wolf shooting to call 916-569-8444.