Education

Our Quest is About Questions:

We were inspired by the questions left by Wolf OR-7’s journey to cycle and hike for 1,200 miles on a quest for answers… but don’t sweat it, the only exercise we ask of you is to join us in the ancient art of questioning.

Other Resources

We’ve also created the Wolf OR-7 Story Map as a resource to learn about Wolf OR-7’s story. Check it out here.

Thank you for your questions!

Thank you for your participation and questions. Please take a moment to view the questions and responses below.

Recommended Reading:

How many wolves are in Oregon?

At the time of the expedition in spring of 2014, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had confirmed a minimum of 64 wolves in Oregon (ODFW).To date, there are now 110 confirmed wolves in Oregon. Wolf packs are dynamic and rarely stay the same size over time. Numbers fluctuate throughout the year as subadults disperse, members die and pups are born. Please check the online updates for information on areas of new wolf activity and other wolf news.” – Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

How will you be able to follow Journey’s (Wolf OR-7’s) path on bikes and stay on legal trails and in legal wilderness areas? – Kai, Berkeley, CA

Wolf OR-7’s exact dispersal route is protected by Oregon and California Fish and Wildlife. We will be retracing his approximate route as closely as we can on public lands and roads. Fortunately for us, Wolf OR-7 spent a significant amount of his travels on public wild lands.

I have read that OR-7’s collar battery will end this year. I have read it will not be replaced as he is considered a bachelor wolf and will most likely not mate and have offspring. My question is, “What will it take to renew interest in this wolf so we may continue to follow his “Journey”? What can be done to implement a new collar? I can’t believe that his life will be left with a huge question mark. That he will fade into history would be a tragedy. Thank-you. Joyce, Rancho Santa Margarita CA

The Oregon Wolf Management Plan is focused on wolf population trends as a whole, and breeding pairs of wolves or wolf packs are better indicators of this than a lone wolf. The decision to collar a wolf is not taken lightly as there are risks to both the wolf and biologist. ODFW biologists made it clear that wolves are not collared for human interest/entertainment, but instead to learn about their movements, help prevent depredations, and monitor wolf population goals.

The unexpected news in spring of 2014 that Wolf OR-7 had found a mate and was rearing pups, prompted attempts to re-collar him led by US Fish & Wildlife. However, these attempts to re-collar him were unsuccessful and his collar has since gone silent (out of battery power). The collar will remain on his neck for the rest of his life, unless packmates manage to chew if off. Wolf OR-7’s newfound Rogue Pack are currently monitored by remote field camera’s and scat samples.

For another perspective, see Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild’s article on Wolf OR-7’s dying collar before the news broke that Wolf OR-7 had wolf pups and would likely be re-collared.

I saw what I was positive was a wolf in the June Lake loop area, about 40 years ago, when I was backpacking way up in the remote highlands there. He was loping across the meadow in a little valley below me, and the sight took my breath away. This makes me wonder how do we know that this is “the first wild wolf in the state in nearly 90 years”? – Anon

The surprise discovery in spring of 2014 that Wolf OR-7 found a mate in Southern Oregon, highlights the fact that statewide population counts fluctuate and are conservative counts. Wolf OR-7 was simply the first known wolf after many decades. Learning how to distinguish wolves from coyote or domestic dogs, and reporting potential wolf sightings to your state department of Fish and Wildlife can help biologists keep tabs on wolf population trends. Statewide wolf counts are critical to evaluating wildlife management plans.

Are you really not planning to go south into Plumas County? OR-7 spent so much of his time there while in California. He also crossed through Lassen Volcanic National Park several times and your map does not indicate any travel through there. We followed him closely in my classroom here in Red Bluff CA and I was hoping his forays into our region would be recognized. Thanks! – Jackson Heights Elementary, Red Bluff CA

Wolf OR-7 forays included several months in Northern California, and while the OR-7 expedition team would have loved to spend more time in the region and even meet your class at Jackson Heights Elementary school, alas we are human and had to shorten our trip due to human time constraints. The beauty and hospitality of Shasta, Lassen and Modoc counties was phenomenal as I’m sure Plumas County is too. I don’t blame Wolf OR-7 for spending so much time in the region! If a member of the team ever makes it back to the area, can we make amends by scheduling a presentation for your class?

I recently found out a couple family members saw what they are convinced was a wolf here just outside Chester, CA. The sighting occurred a couple of years ago and after finding a map of OR-7’s 2011 general route, it appears it may have come by our cabin. I think it would be fantastic to confirm this. Is there a place I can go to compare my cabin’s GPS location data with that of OR-7’s GPS past tracking data to see if they match? Or, if need be, I can provide my GPS data to someone who can confirm it did indeed come through here. – Brian, Chester CA

Whiles wolves are protected under the State and/or Federal Endangered Species Act, data from GPS collars on their exact location is not available to the public in order to protect the wolves. However, approximate routes have been released within +/- several miles of Wolf OR-7’s actual location, and it appears that Wolf OR-7 could certainly have passed through your area.

Below are a couple maps of Wolf OR-7’s route that we worked from:

I understand there is a card game that educates on wolves. Where could one find this game? – Steve, US

A card game about wolf ecology is in progress. Check in with Galeo Saintz of the Wild Peace Alliance for updates.

If Journey has a mate are you expecting there to be puppies?? – Steve, US

Yes! The day we entered Wolf OR-7s present territory, June 4th 2014, we learned that he and his mate are indeed raising at least two pups. They went on to successfully raise a 2nd litter the following spring, and we may perhaps hear of a 3rd litter in 2016.

All wolves are born in spring, as females only go into “heat” or reproduce once a year in mid-winter.

What happened, or failed to happen in the past that resulted in the annihilation of wolves in the lower 48 states? – Tim, Enterprise, OR

The short answer is the gray wolf was historically trapped, shot, and poisoned across the US beginning as early as 1630 when the first wolf bounty was established in Plymouth Colony by immigrants from Europe.  There were various reasons attributed to this policy including economic fur trapping, an association with heretics that the Church fostered in Europe in the dark ages, concerns over livestock depredations and human safety.

According to the Oregon History Project, the formation of Oregon’s first government was inspired by “wolf meetings” held in the Willamette Valley in 1843, to discuss the issue of how to solve the problem of attacks on local livestock by wolves, bears and cougars. A system was created in which all residents contributed to a fund that would pay bounties for dead predators, and a committee was established to collect and distribute Oregon’s first local tax. Settlers systematically shot, poisoned and trapped wolves until the last recorded wild wolf in Oregon was killed in the Umpqua forest in 1946, for a bounty paid by the Oregon state government.In California the last wolf bounty was paid in 1924 in Lassen County.

Wolf OR-7’s name sounds robotic, don’t you think? Can we call him something different? – Max, Paris, France

OR-7 actually refers to the wolf’s collar, which could change upon re-collaring. He is the 7th wolf to be captured and radio-collared in Oregon and thus the title Wolf OR-7 stuck. Some studies, such as the North Cascades Wolverine Study, has skipped the scientific title and given collared more individuals anthropogenic names.

OR-7 is more affectionately called Journey. In an attempt to draw attention to the great conservation success story that is wolf recovery, Oregon Wild sponsored a children’s art and naming contest, and on January 4, 2012, OR-7 got the nickname Journey.

How does one collar a wolf? Julie, US

When we met with Oregon Fish & Wildlife biologist Russ Morgan for an interview, he told us a detailed explanation of how Wolf OR-7 was collared.

Are there still wolves near Mt. Hood? My friends and I hiked trail #688 yesterday and I saw what I at first thought was a cougar track; mainly due to the size of the thing. Definitely not bear, and definitely not dog (my dog ran past it and 2 or 3 of her tracks could have fit inside this one). Looking more closely the toes were closer together and there were claw marks on the toes. I couldn’t figure out what it was (never thought to think of wolf) until I (by chance) came across this article. I then looked up a wolf track online, and the hind tracks match perfectly with what I remember. I was stupid and didn’t take a picture of it, but all I kept thinking was that it looked like a large dog. At the time wolf never crossed my mind. What are the odds what I saw was wolf? – Justin, OR

It’s certainly possible these days that you may have seen wolf tracks, especially if there were no human tracks nearby as is often the case with large domestic dogs. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed a wolf sighting on Mt. Hood in the White River unit late February.

Can someone give us an example (lyrics or even better, an audio recording) of a wolf- honouring song that has lived and survived in the ancestral memory of one of the First Peoples tribes in OR or CA? – Anna, South Africa

Often ceremonial songs intentionally remain unrecorded, however, many First Peoples Nations respected wolves and it’s likely there are songs that live on today. Wolf OR-7 passed through the lands of the Nez Perce, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Burns Paiute Tribe, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Nation, and the Klamath Tribes. 

See “Native American History,” on page 6 of the Background section of the  Oregon Wolf Management Plan.

Seen any wolf scat? Coyote scat? Cougar scat? Thanks. – Jim, Ashland OR

We saw lots of coyote scat, bob cat scat, and cougar scrapes but no definite wolf scats. Stay tuned for photos.

How can I receive updates as to the location of OR7? – John

While Wolf OR-7 is in Oregon, you can sign up to receive email updates of wolf movement in Oregon through Oregon Fish and Wildlife. If you are a livestock producer, contact ODFW as you may be eligible for area updates to alert producers that wolves are in the area and increased human presence may be warranted.

Has the female (Wolf OR-7’s mate) been determined to be full blooded? What does it mean if she is a hybrid as far as being protected and what will become of the pups if she isn’t? – Steve, Grants Pass OR

ODFW has confirmed that Wolf OR-7’s mate is a full-blooded wolf, More info here. Domestically-raised wolves and wolf hybrids are not protected by Federal or State laws (OWMP).

I work at a park and have a program on animals disappearing and the controversy/hope for bringing them back. This is a great topic, and people in the audience are incredibly encouraged when they hear about OR7. Have you noticed much resistance with locals in Oregon/ California? – Farrah

On the whole we didn’t see many people at all along Wolf OR-7’s route, so our sample size is small, but the shop owners, residents, farmers and livestock producers we ran into were either excited, not at all excited or indifferent to Wolf OR-7’s presence in the area.

In Northern California we met a few people who were very concerned about potential wolf depredation of livestock and pets, and one young man mentioned that it’s one thing to come into an area as a tourist excited to see or a hear a wolf for the first time, and another to live with an additional carnivore on the landscape everyday.

In Northeast Oregon, where wolves have been a hot button issue over the last decade, we heard from one local woman that there’s now a bit of wolf fatigue. In order to continue getting along as neighbors in a small community, the topic of wolves is just generally avoided. To date we have been met with respect by everyone we encountered.

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