Expedition to retrace a wolf's epic journey

  • Article by: JEFF BARNARD , Associated Press
  • Updated: March 19, 2014 - 7:32 PM

Trek’s goal is acceptance as wolves repopulate the West.

hide

Jay Simpson, shown in 2012, will participate in an expedition to hike and bike the 1,200-mile trail of wolf OR-7 as it trekked across Oregon into Northern California, looking for a mate in territory that hasn’t seen his like in nearly a century. Simpson plans daily blog posts.

Photo: Provided by JAY SIMPSON and CHARLES TOWNE via Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Wildlife advocates are preparing to retrace the 1,200-mile path of a wandering wolf whose trek in 2011 across Oregon and California attracted worldwide attention. They hope their upcoming journey will help build greater acceptance of wolves as they reclaim lost territories across the West.

The wolf, dubbed OR-7 and wearing a GPS-equipped collar, became famous at 2 years old after leaving a pack in northeastern Oregon in 2011, just days after the state issued a kill order for his father and a sibling for preying on livestock.

“It is only through walking it that anyone can truly understand that journey,” said Jay Simpson, who plans daily blog posts of photos and interviews with people the Wolf OR-7 Expedition contacts along the way. “It’s not a thing you can understand on Google Earth.”

Using traditional storytelling, real-time multimedia blogging, time-lapse photography and a documentary film, the team hopes to offer new insights into what the spread of wolves across the West means for the people who live here, inspire new attitudes that ease conflicts in ranch country and recognize conservationists working to protect wolves.

OR-7 passed by the spot where the last Oregon wolf was killed by a hunter in 1946, and where the last known California wolf was killed in 1924.

Wolf tells a new story

OR-7’s trek is standard procedure for young wolves trying to establish new territories. That’s how wolves came to Oregon in the late 1990s from Idaho, where they were re-established as part of a federal endangered species program.

“OR-7 is really a pioneer,” said David Moskowitz, a wildlife biologist, tracker and photographer. “He is offering a first glimpse of the new story unfolding about what it is going to be like for wolves returning” to a changed landscape.

Unlike five Oregon wolves that migrated east to Idaho, OR-7 has not been shot, noted Amaroq Weiss of the conservation group Center for Biological Diversity. Idaho has allowed wolf hunting since Endangered Species Act protection was lifted in 2011.

The expedition was the brainchild of Portland storyteller Rachael Pecore-Valdez. She was in Berlin when she talked to a South African friend, Galeo Saintz, about a trek he had done to raise awareness for endangered rhinos. She decided to do something similar for OR-7.

“For me the expedition is really about learning by talking to other people and asking questions and less about my opinions and thoughts about wolves,” Pecore-Valdez said.

Easing conflict with wildlife

Saintz is founder of the Wild Peace Alliance, which uses expedition adventure to ease conflicts between people and wildlife and celebrate successful work by conservationists.

“Wolf OR-7 inspires me, because he highlights that the ordinary is often remarkable if we just give it the right attention and appreciate what it means,” he said. “He is the ultimate lone wolf on an unknown quest to make the most of his one precious life.”

Pecore-Valdez contacted Moskowitz, whose wildlife tracking class she had taken, and they were rolling. Filmmaker Daniel Byers is shooting a documentary along the way.

The core of the expedition — 300 miles of hiking and 900 miles of biking in 40 days — is sponsored by a $5,700 grant from Sculpt the Future Foundation. The expedition launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $21,000 for a documentary.

They plan to start at a spot overlooking Hells Canyon in Northeastern Oregon in mid-May, and follow OR-7’s general route, biking where they can, hiking where they have to, taking note of landmarks.

None of them wants to actually stumble across OR-7, who now resides in southern Oregon, for fear of putting more stress in his life.

  • related content

  • A hunter’s trail camera caught the wolf in 2011. “OR-7 is really a pioneer,” said David Moskowitz, a wildlife biologist.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland 7 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 2
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco 0 Bottom 7th Inning
San Diego 3
Texas 0 Bottom 6th Inning
LA Angels 8
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Miss State 34 4th Qtr 0:05
(8) LSU 29
Ball State 9 2nd Qtr 9:54
Toledo 20
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
(14) So Carolina 34 4th Qtr 5:57
Vanderbilt 27
(4) Oklahoma 38 4th Qtr 11:50
West Virginia 27
UNLV 14 3rd Qtr 0:45
Houston 30
Miami-Florida 24 4th Qtr 10:02
(24) Nebraska 31
New Mexico 24 4th Qtr 12:47
New Mexico St 28
(22) Clemson 10 3rd Qtr 0:19
(1) Florida State 10
California 14 2nd Qtr
Arizona 0
San Diego St 7 1st Qtr 9:09
Oregon State 0
(2) Oregon 0 1st Qtr 8:46
Washington St 7
Louisiana 0 1st Qtr 13:23
Boise State 0
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 0 1st Half 35:00
Los Angeles 0
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close