In the beginning of things men were animals and animals men. ~ Algonquin saying

"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons." ~ The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wolves in Oregon and the Journey of 'Oregon-7'

The wolf (which happens to be my totem and clan, and an animal I have a great affinity for, having come to me in dreams many times. Usually Wolf comes to me as very large, and snow white...) has made a "come back" into Oregon, and this is either beautiful news for some, and very bad news for others. Ranchers in particular see the return of the wolf as bad news.

One wolf has become a symbol; a symbolic animal hero, almost mystical in its journey. The wolf, so far unnamed save for the clinical label of "Oregon-7" wears a GPS collar. His journey is tracked. Oregon-7 is, hopefully and probably, looking for a mate:
if this wolf can locate a mate, it could help wolf recovery. All on his own, Oregon-7 is a biological dead end.
"We’re out here trying to find out which way it’s going to go," Stephenson says.
In September, the 2½ year old male left the Wallowa mountains in search of a new territory and company, a process called dispersal. The GPS collar recorded the wolf’s location every three hours. Oregon-7 traveled more than 700 miles.
This article: Field Notes: In Oregon’s Cascades, A Lone Wolf details Oregon-7's latest movements, as well as giving background and context to why "Oregon-7's" journey is important.

There was a time in Oregon when bounties were paid for wolf kills. Now, in Oregon, it is illegal to kill wolves, which are listed as an endangered species. This law is being contested however; ranchers, cattlemen, etc. are working very hard to change that law. This story from October, 2010 gives an account of an illegal wolf kill (a wolf that had a GPS collar and was being tracked by wildlife authorities) in Northeastern Oregon. About the wolf that was killed in 2010:
“It’s infuriating when any animal is senselessly and illegally killed, but the facts in this case are especially egregious,” says Wally Sykes of Northeast Oregon Ecosystems of Joseph, Oregon. “The biologists had just fitted this endangered wolf with a hard-to-miss collar and sent out photos printed in newspapers and websites across the state. Whoever shot this wolf knew what they were doing and just didn’t care that it was illegal.”

The irony is that the Wenaha wolf pack hasn’t been a problem for Northeast Oregon ranchers. The pack keeps to itself in the high country and has never attacked livestock. The Imnaha pack, on the other hand, killed at least six or seven calves this year in Wallowa County.

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