Wandering Wolf's Epic Quest May Be Over

OR7 appears to have found his mate, and might be a dad

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2014 11:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – It may have taken three years, two states, and something of a movie deal, but the wandering gray wolf known as OR7 appears to have found his girl. OR7 first attracted attention in 2011 when he abandoned his pack in northeastern Oregon and trekked to California in search of—what else?—love and land, becoming in the process the first gray wolf seen in the Golden State in 88 years. OR7 has since moved between California and Oregon, and wolf experts tracking him via a collar transmitter (which typically only last three years) began to despair. "We weren't going to (re-collar him)," says John Stephenson, a wolf biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service. "He's a lone wolf. There's only so much information you can get." But then came a change.

OR7 began "denning"—confining his wandering to a small area in southwestern Oregon's Cascade Mountains—and lo and behold, wildlife cameras spotted another wolf in the area. This one is black and appears female, reports the LA Times. "We don't know where this female came from," says Stephenson, but OR7's collar transmissions indicate "this new wolf and OR7 have paired up." Better yet? "If that is correct, they would be rearing pups at this time of year." Experts will wait til at least next month to confirm the presence of pups, notes the Oregonian, but they would be the first wolves in the area since early last century. The gray wolf was hunted nearly to extinction, and wildlife enthusiasts are ecstatic. "In a decade there could be wolves recolonizing habitat in Northern California," says one. "He's certainly been there and checked it out." OR7's story hits the big screen later this month.

This remote camera May 3, 2014 photo shows a wolf using the same area as OR7 in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.   (AP Photo/USFWS)
This remote camera photo taken May 4, 2014, shows a black wolf that appears to be a female in the same area as OR7 in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.   (AP Photo/USFWS)
This remote camera photo taken May 3, 2014, shows OR7, who may have found the mate he has trekked thousands of miles looking for.   (AP Photo/USFWS)
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OR7: The Journey premieres later this month.   (YouTube)

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