OR-7 returns to Oregon

Published Mar 13, 2013 at 03:41PM

A lone wolf originally from Eastern Oregon is back in his home state after 11 months of rambling in California.

The gray wolf known as OR-7, the identification associated with his radio collar, crossed into Oregon sometime between noon and midnight Tuesday, said Karen Kovacs, wildlife program manager California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Before passing over the state line, she said, OR-7 plunged into and swam across the Klamath River.

“Rivers do not seem to pose much of an obstacle for this critter,” Kovacs said. “It's not the first time he swam the Klamath, we know that.”

Once a member of the Imnaha pack in Eastern Oregon, OR-7 set out on his own in September 2011. He crossed through Central Oregon, wandering through parts of Crook and Deschutes counties before heading into California late that year. He returned to Oregon for about a month between last March and April but had been in California since. Kovacs said he's covered at least 4,400 miles so far.

While in California OR-7 was the first and only known wolf in the state since the animals were killed off there in the 1920s.

Wildlife officials on both sides of the border said they don't know where he'll go next.

“We can't predict that type of thing,” said Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For more on OR-7 and his travels, see The Bulletin on Thursday.

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