Jun 13

Father’s Day first for OR-7!

A hunter captured this photo of the lone wolf called OR7 on public land in Jackson
County, southern Oregon, in November 2011. Shortly after that, the wolf wandered
into California. ALLEN DANIELS

By now, you’ve likely heard that the wandering wolf known to his legions of followers as “Journey” (and to the biologists that track his travels as OR-7) is a father! Biologists in Oregon came across pups in the area where they believe he and his new mate have built a den.

Photo credit USFWS

Top: Journey and mate’s pups. Bottom: OR-7/Journey Photo credit USFWS

They were able to take a few pictures of 2 of the pups while Journey’s radio collar indicated he was out hunting for a meal for his new family. They estimate that the pups are 5 to 6 weeks old and that there may be a number of others. Wolves often have as many as 6 pups so these two may have brothers and sisters that were out of sight.

OR-7 was born into the Imnaha pack in Northeast Oregon in April 2009 and was fitted with a radio collar in Oregon in 2011. From there, he undertook a truly epic journey that captured the attention of wolf lovers around the world.  We’ve written about Journey’s travels previously here and you can learn much more at Oregon Wild’s website.

He rightfully earned the name Journey during his thousands of miles of travel from Oregon, into California, and back.

Very good news came from Journey’s destination state of California last week when the California Fish & Game Commission voted to protect gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act. Journey’s travels there marked the first confirmed wolf sighting west of the Cascades since the middle of last century.

By protecting wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act, California is insuring that wolves that are expanding into their previous habitat have the needed protections to recover.  You can send an email thanking the commission for taking this crucially important step here.

The move was even more important with existing federal protections threatened by Secretary Jewell’s plan to delist wolves nationally. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a proposal last year that would remove existing protections from virtually all of the gray wolves in the lower 48 states. With wolves being found in states like Iowa, Kentucky, California, and elsewhere they haven’t lived in decades, it’s essential that we continue to provide safeguards to insure their survival. We will continue to fight Secretary Jewell’s proposal and support state efforts to protect gray wolves.

We celebrate Journey’s first Father’s Day as a dad and hope that future Journeys in California and across the U.S. are granted the protections they need to continue to thrive.

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