Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

California’s lone gray wolf returns


It really has been a long, strange trip for the wolf known as OR7 by wildlife managers. The animal first came to prominence back at the first of the year, when he became California’s first gray wolf since 1947, wandering over from Oregon. It was big enough news that Oregon Wild had a naming contest for it, resulting in the classic rock-inspired moniker, Journey.

High hopes that Journey would mate and restart the California gray wolf populated seemed to be dashed in early March, when unable to find a mate, the animal returned to Oregon. At the time, Russ Morgan, the wolf coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said there was still reason to keep hope alive.

"It's possible OR7 will cross back into California and be using areas in both states," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "While wolves crossing state boundaries may be significant for people, wolves and other wildlife don't pay attention to state borders."

Sure enough, California’s gray wolf is back. After already traveling more than 2,000 miles since last fall, Journey was seen roaming northern Siskiyou County just this week, said Karen Kovacs, wildlife program manager with the California Department of Fish and Game, in the Huffington Post. According to authorities, the wolf is still searching for a mate.

"What happens is they leave looking for love. And when they don't find it, they keep walking - because the love of their life is just over that hill," said Ed Bangs, a wolf expert in the Huffington Post. "He won't stop doing that until he dies. Or he finds the love of his life."