In late 2011, a lone wolf walked across Oregon and entered California, becoming the first wild wolf in the state in nearly 90 years.
He was called a hero, a killing-machine, a rogue, a beacon of hope, and a foreign invader from Canada. School children named him Journey. No matter his name, he came to represent the return of wolves to their historic rangelands in the American Pacific Northwest.
Everything we know about this wolf comes from his GPS radio collar tagged “OR-7″ (as the seventh wolf tagged in Oregon), but the radio collar is over three years old and it’s expected to lose power and stop functioning sometime this year. As state biologists lose their ability to monitor Wolf OR-7’s movements, the Wolf OR-7 Expedition sets out to retrace his 1,200-mile journey to bring awareness to the challenges faced by wolves returning to their historic rangelands and the work completed by people working together that made his journey possible.
“This is an opportunity to engage people in a conversation about wildlife and wild lands in the twenty-first century,” says team member and author David Moskowitz. “If the expedition has a theme, it’s how wolves and other large carnivores coexist with modern humans and how humans can make that work.”
The Wolf OR-7 Expedition Kickstarter fundraising campaign will support the team in conducting research, awareness and education efforts including a CyberTracker wildlife survey from the route, expedition documentary, a video time-lapse of the route, and online educational multimedia.
Their trek aims to focus on education and understanding the complex story of wolves in America through the perspective of a single wolf. If you can increase your understanding of another by trying to “walk a mile in their shoes,” what can we learn by retracing 1,200 miles of OR-7’s tracks? Fortunately or unfortunately, that answer can only be found by trying to accomplish just that.
Learn more about the Wolf OR-7 Expedition and consider supporting it yourself on Kickstarter.