Oregon’s wandering wolf OR-7 crossed back into Oregon yesterday, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
OR-7 left the Imnaha pack in September last year and a GPS collar tracked him as he crossed Baker, Grant, Lake, Crook, Harney and Jackson counties before crossing the the California border on Dec. 28. California Department of Fish and Game has been tracking him across Northern California for the past two months.
As of midnight last night, he was back in Jackson County. I love this quote about his return from ODFW Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan, which was sent out in a news release today:
“While wolves crossing state boundaries may be significant for people, wolves and other wildlife don’t pay attention to state borders. It’s possible OR7 will cross back into California and be using areas in both states. ODFW will continue to monitor his location and coordinate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Fish and Game.”
What? Wolves don’t recognize state borders? You mean OR-7 wasn’t desperately missing us Oregonians after spending a couple months in California?
OR-7 probably didn’t realize he was also helping conservation groups make their case for wilderness and public land protection on his bi-state journey. Earlier this week, Oregon Wild sent out a map of the wolf’s path that illustrated its overlaps with Bureau of Land Management tracts, National Forest land and protected and potential wilderness areas.
“Who knew that wolves carried guide books to wilderness areas?” mused Erik Fernandez, Wilderness Coordinator with Oregon Wild. “In all seriousness, it’s thrilling to see that the proposed Crater Lake wilderness and other important wildlife corridors identified by scientists are being used on this amazing journey.”
According to the conservation groups’ findings, OR-7 visited Eagle Cap Wilderness, and proposed wilderness areas including Hidden Springs Wilderness near Hampton Butte and the Crooked River, Crater Lake Wilderness area, Captain Jack Wilderness in Lava Beds National Monument, Ahjumawi Wilderness and McDonald Peak Wilderness. Hm … does this help make the case for approving these proposals?