At the tender age of two a young wolf set out in the pawprints of his equally eager predecessors, to follow the path of true love…searching for new territory and a mate of his own. He left his home pack and his father, the Alpha Male of the pack on September 10th, and began a death defying journey across 1,200km (730miles) of mountains to deserts to US highways. An epic journey that found him zig-zagging from Oregon to the California border pursued and shot at by government hunters and risking death from poachers and ranchers in the name of love
Following his departure a death warrant on this young wolf’s home pack, was issued by State officials for cattle killing…a warrant specifying in particular OR-4 the Alpha Male and father of the intrepid lone wolf known as OR-7, and one younger wolf, his mother and one wolf pup. Two siblings of OR-7 also left the pack the same time as their brother.
A stay of kill order was achieved by three Conservation groups determinedly sued Fish and Wildlife for authorising two wolf kills including the Alpha Male, OR-4, whose GPS collar showed he had been guilty of preying on livestcock.. Their legal challenge is to be settled in the Oregon Court of Appeals. But meanwhile Oregon Wild, Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands were ordered to put up a bond of $5,000 to compensate owners of any wolf-kill confirmed livestock.
Lodge owner Liz Parrish was startled by the sudden appearance of the adventuring wolf when he showed up on the edge of Upper Klamath Lake in south Oregon. “I was stunned – it was such a huge animal. We had a stare-down then he just evaporated into the trees.”
Neighboring cattle rancher Nathan Jackson had a slightly different view on the wolf’s appearance. “We worked hard to exterminate wolves 50 years ago or so. They don’t seem so beautiful and majestic when they are ripping apart calves and colts.”
OR-7’s progress has been tracked via a GPS collar and blue ear tags that state biologist s fitted him with in February after tranquillising him from a helicopter in a snow NE canyon. His lonely wanderings and lovelorn search for a mate have led him through many counties where he has become famous with both the media and the public, padding his way into the local news in each county his search for love has led him
“People have taken a shine to him” ~ Russ Morgan, Oregon wolf co-ordinator. Unfortunately this is not true of the government hunters. State protection of wolves may be in place in Oregon, but towards the state’s eastern side there is no longer any federal protection for them.
Having won the hearts of the people however, the love hunting young wolf OR-7 has become the subject of a competition by those who have embraced his wolfie ways to give him a more appealing and friendly name. this wily tactic is designed to win hearts and minds and turn him into a wolf of such high-standing fame that no-one would dare to shoot him. One entry came from as far away as Finland. Chosen by one of the young wolf’s supporters, a little girl from his home territory of Wallowa County, the catchy title of Whoseafraida (of the big bad wolf) is currently hot favourite and trending in his home territory.