It seems fitting to write about 0R7 on the day when Liam Neeson's action thriller The Grey opens nationwide. ( There is a story going around the web that he ate wolf jerky to prepare for the part.) Not surprisingly, some wildlife advocacy groups are calling for a boycott of the film for it's silly premise that North American wolves would attack full grown men. (There have been two documented attacks on people by wolves in the last 100 years.)
Never mind. Back to the real wolf, OR7, which is far more famous than the 250 lb. fictional monster wolves in the film. His arrival has caused quite a stir in California. It's the first to enter the state since the early 1900s when wolves were exterminated. He's traveled 300 miles from his pack in northeast Oregon wearing a radio collar provide by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers. They've been tracking him since he left his pack, and you follow his trail on California Department of Fish and Game web site.
California Department of Fish and Game
Some are calling it the most significant conservation story for California for years. And the wolf has generated quite a fan base of people who held a contest to come up with a name for him -- Journey. Some ranchers, on the other hand, are ready to shoot on sight. As a result, today the California Department of Fish and Game issued a warning:
"While OR7 is the only documented wolf in California, any wild gray wolf that returns to California is protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The federal law generally prohibits the harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capture or collection of wolves in California, or the attempt to engage in any such conduct. Penalties include fines up to $100,000 and one-year imprisonment."
Biologists say that young males wolves who leave their packs are searching for mates and new territories -- such dispersal are how they spread. This one is not likely to find a mate in California, but he appears to be settling down for the winter. California wildlife officials don't provide enough details on his whereabouts to make it possible for any fan -- or hunter -- to find him.
Because forget Liam Neeson. It's wolf who's in danger from humans.