Wildlife officials believe the animal, known as OR93, was struck by a vehicle in Southern California.

source: tucson.com

America's most famous wolf found dead.

Wildlife officials believe the animal, known as OR93, was struck by a vehicle in Southern California.

Wildlife officials said that a gray wolf who became notorious for traveling thousands of miles across the United States died after being run over this month in California.

Chain NBC News said the wolf, known as OR93, was found dead by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife California on Interstate 5 about 90 miles to the north of Los Angeles, near the town of Lebec.

Officials believe it was an accident.

The wolf OR93 was born in northern Oregon in 2019. He became the most famous wolf in the United States after, thanks to a radio collar, the "epic" trips made by the animal were traced. It reached the central coast of California from Oregon, the first wolf to be reported in that area in a century.

"I am devastated to learn of the death of this extraordinary wolf, "Amaroq Weiss, an advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization, said in a statement. "His epic trips to California inspired the world. In this annual time of reflection, I thank you for the hope you gave us and for a brief look at what it would be like for wolves to roam free and in the wild. "

By April, OR93 had reached California's San Luis Obispo County, nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) south of his birthplace. The San Francisco Chronicle was the one who celebrated the anniversary, recounting the journey of the "young wandering gray wolf" who "was probably looking for love" and eluded wildlife officials as he did so.

Weiss said that OR93 was caught on a surveillance camera even further south in Kern County, where he was eventually found dead in his search for a mate. In September, he had been seen in northern Ventura County.

Wildlife officials told NBC that the last time a wolf was documented in far southern California was in 1922, when one was spotted in San Bernardino County.

"I always knew that the chances of him finding another wolf on the Central Coast were slim to none, but his incessant wanderings in search of a kindred spirit connected him to the hearts of many," Weiss said. "He will not be forgotten, and we will honor his memory by continuing to fight for the safety of wolves everywhere."

The gray wolves, which are native to California, were hunted a century ago to near extinction. About 20 are currently believed to now live in two northern counties, Weiss said.

Weiss pointed to OR93's death as a reminder of the impact of development and expansion on native animal habitats and called for the construction of adequate crossings for wildlife, including underpasses and overpasses.