King of the Wolf Pioneers

photo credit: dbarronoss via photopin cc
photo credit: dbarronoss via photopin cc

Despite habitat loss worldwide threatening many species’ survival, there are still some success stories. Grey wolves, once hunted to the brink of extinction in the US, are now slowly regaining a foothold in several states following a reintroduction programme in the Rockies in the 1990’s. And the less-than-romantically-named OR-7 is leading the way.

Originating in Oregon, and being the 7th wolf to be fitted with a tracking device, OR-7 has travelled more than 3,000 miles, probably in search of a pack or a mate. The first 1,000 miles landed him in California and he’s spent the last year wandering the state, causing a stir wherever he goes. OR -7 has his own website, provided by the California Department of Fish and Game, and a Twitter account, for those interested in tracking his wanderings.

Currently, the California Wildlife Commission is considering a petition to have grey wolves listed as endangered in the state, which will mean a $100,000 fine if he’s shot. The California Cattlemen Association opposes the move. In Oregon, OR-7 is so popular a local cartoonist drew him as a presidential candidate.

Over millenia, pioneering animals, including man, have trekked unknown territories in the search for better food or somewhere to live. Such wanderings are part of how new species evolve. To be able to observe one exceptional wolf on his lonely quest is a rare pleasure.

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