The Imnaha Pack, OR7’s Parents (Alpha Female”Sophie” far left, Alpha Male OR4, black wolf , head lowered) (ODFW)
OR7, the young, dispersing Oregon wolf, who has captured the world’s attention with his epic journey, crossed into California from Oregon Wednesday night, making him the first wolf to officially set a paw in California since 1924. It was in his genes, In 2008, OR7’s mother, wolf B-300, nicknamed “Sophie”, dispersed from Idaho into Oregon by swimming the Snake River to her new home in the “Beaver State”.
Here she is caught on camera scampering along in the snow after her 08 arrival, quite the traveler, just like her famous son.
Once in Oregon “Sophie” found a mate, OR4 and became the alpha female of the Imnaha Pack, the first wolf pack to inhabit Oregon in over sixty years. It’s been a rough go for the Imnaha’s, beleaguered for the last several years, under constant death threats because of a handful of livestock depredations blamed on the pack (19 in two years). Oregon ranchers lost 51,200 cows (NASS) to non-predation in 2010 but the focus is always on negligible losses to wolves. The livestock industry gets lots of mileage grandstanding about wolves. I guess they figure if they repeat something often enough people will believe it. Nobody is going out of business over 19 cows.
“Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild said that the number of livestock killed by gray wolves is miniscule compared with the numbers that die being born, in severe weather or from disease. Ranchers also lose cows to thieves.
“Wolves are not a threat to the livestock industry,” Klavins said, emphasizing the need for the state to balance the needs of ranchers with conservation.”
Even with the shadow hanging over his parent’s heads nothing can diminish OR7’s accomplishment, he is his mother’s son, following in her illustrious footsteps.
Wolves are consummate wanderers, they can travel 25 miles a day without breaking a sweat. They have runner’s bodies with their long legs, deep chests, slim bodies and snowshoe feet. Wolves are the marathoners of the animal kingdom and OR-7 has not disappointed.
“Tracking OR7’s Journey From His Natal Pack, Before He Crossed Into California Wednesday night”(ODFW)
Just two years old, he’s doing what wolves have done for thousands of years, search for a mate to establish his own pack and claim territory. To add to his mystery, no recent pictures of him exist.
Wearing a GPS collar, OR7’s wanderings have been closely tracked by biologists. He migrated 730 miles across Oregon over two months beginning last September. Over the past month, he’s been in the Siskiyou National Forest, northeast of Medford. This week, he wandered south of the Oregon town of Keno, just 10 miles from the California border.
“He’s doing what young males typically do — they outgrow their pack and go out to find their own mate, to try to make a pack,” said fish and game spokeswoman Jordan Traverso.
He’s not likely to find a mate in California, unless he’s aware of something we aren’t. There could be uncollared wolves in California we know nothing about. Or he might be traveling with a female companion. He’s remained elusive as only wolves can, so no one is quite sure what he’s up to. More then likely he’ll wander around for awhile and return to Oregon or travel into Nevada, or he could head further south, it’s anyone’s guess.
I worry for his safety, so many eyes are on him and not just friendly ones. OR7 is FEDERALLY PROTECTED by the Endangered Species Act, it’s a crime to harm him.
Ranchers are already beating the drums about his presence. But wolves really have little impact on livestock.
“Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild’s conservation director, sees the wolf divide as a culture clash.“
“Folks are really fighting wolf recovery … because they perceive it as the big bad federal government or the terrible people in the Willamette Valley in Oregon bringing back an animal that their grandparents wiped out for good cause,” he said. “It’s really more of a debate over values than it is about wolves and what they actually do.”
On a lighter note. OR7 was to have a new name.
“…The conservation group Oregon Wild, deciding that OR7 needed a more endearing name, launched a contest that drew several hundred suggestions from children as far away as Nigeria and Taiwan. The winner will be announced after New Year’s Day from the five finalists: Arthur, Max, Journey, Lupin and Takota.“
Since he’s now a California wolf has Oregon lost the right to name him? We’ll see. He may be taking a holiday stroll in the Golden State and be back in Oregon before the New Year.
Stay safe OR7, the eyes of the world are upon you.
Britain’s Daily Mail recently said OR-7 “captured the heart of the American public” with his incredible zigzag journey through the state that began Sept. 10 in Wallowa County. A Google search shows he’s on more than 300 websites, and his story has been picked up in Finland, Austria, Taiwan, Sweden, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Argentina.
I hope this will bring the much-needed publicity wolves are due. His wolf kin in Idaho and Montana and being slaughtered in brutal wolf hunts, 316 are dead as of 12/29/2011. The Idaho hunt stretches all the way into June 2012, in the Lolo and Selway zones. Ten long months!!
This young wolves’ journey has boosted the spirits of weary advocates, grateful for any good wolf news. With his light shining so bright, it’s hard not to see the greatness of wolves!
“Alpha Female, B-300 Imnaha Pack (OR7’s mother) and a Two Year Old Male” (ODFW)
Lone wolf crosses into California from Oregon
The young animal is the first wolf known to be at large in California since 1924. Wildlife authorities in both states have been monitoring the wolf since it set out from the Crater Lake area in September.
Wolf’s journey marks strides for its species
OR-7 ,Oregon’s wandering wolf ,captures imagination of worldwide audience
Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011, 10:20 PM Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011, 12:06 AM
“OR-11, A Male Pup (born Spring 2011) from Oregon’s Walla Walla Pack” (ODFW)
Photos: Courtesy ODFW
Posted in: Oregon wolves, California wolves, gray wolf
Tags: OR7, dispersing wolf, Oregon, California, rock star wolf, wolves elusive, Imnaha Pack, ODFW, biodiversity