This Oregon tourist's visit to California is something special: She's a rare gray wolf

Family photos of California's newest wolf pack

A rare family of wolves, descended from celebrity wolf OR7, has been found in Northern California, the state announced Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
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A rare family of wolves, descended from celebrity wolf OR7, has been found in Northern California, the state announced Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

A gray wolf visited Nevada County last week, marking the first time a gray wolf has been seen in that area since the early 20th century, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

The wolf, a 2-year-old female, was spotted about a mile from Interstate 80 near Boreal Mountain, approximately 30 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe, The Union reported.

The wolf, known as OR-54, came to California on Jan. 3 from Oregon, then went back to Oregon and returned to California, the Record Searchlight reported.

"She’s a traveling maniac," Kent Laudon, a wolf expert with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the Record Searchlight. In fact, after her short jaunt to Nevada County, the wolf went back to Sierra County.

It wasn’t immediately clear why OR-54 went to Nevada County, but county Agricultural Commissioner Chris De Nijs told The Union that she might have been looking for food, or perhaps her pack got too big.

Authorities believe she is the daughter of OR-7, a wolf that crossed from Oregon into California in 2011 and became the first confirmed gray wolf in California since 1924, according to The Union and the Los Angeles Times.

State biologists confirmed Thursday (Aug. 20, 2015) that a family of seven wolves has made Siskiyou County home. They're calling it "the Shasta Pack."

OR-7 roamed both California and Oregon until 2013, when he went back to Oregon and eventually established the Rogue Pack in Jackson and Klamath counties in southern Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

There's another Oregon wolf currently exploring California named OR-44, but he doesn't appear to be related to OR-7 or his offspring, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

There are two known packs of gray wolves that have recently made California home: the Lassen Pack in western Lassen County and the Shasta Pack, discovered in 2015. One of the Shasta Pack's cubs was spotted in western Nevada in November 2016, but their status is currently unknown.

Gray wolves are listed as an endangered species in California and in the United States, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The animals don't pose a safety threat to humans, the agency said, though they recommend people don't feed, approach or otherwise interact with a wolf.

If you have a close encounter with a wolf or wolves, don't run, Fish and Wildlife said. Instead, maintain eye contact, act aggressively and make noise while slowly retreating. If the wolf doesn't leave, yell or throw objects.

You can report a wolf sighting to the agency using this online form, and officials ask anyone who sees a wolf that's been killed to report it to Fish and Wildlife's Region 1 office by calling 530-225-2300 or emailing

Wolves have returned to Northern California, and state officials are looking for help tracking them. Use these tips to help determine if you saw a wolf, a dog or a coyote.

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