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.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.
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.
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.