Changing Planet

Trekking in the Footsteps of a Lone Wolf for Coexistence

Please help fund us on this expedition by visiting the Wolf OR-7 Expedition Kickstarter campaign or website. We only have six days left to reach our fundraising goals.

In late 2011, a lone wolf walked across Oregon and entered California, becoming the first wild wolf in the state in nearly 90 years.

CDFW photo of Wolf OR-7. Photo by Richard Shinn.
Wolf OR-7. Photo by Richard
Shinn. California Department
of Fish and Wildlife

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.

Galeo Saintz trains to mountain bike an estimated 900 miles during the Wolf OR-7 Expedition. Photo by Anja Wiehl.

“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.

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Learn more Wolf OR-7 Expedition website &  follow at facebook.com/or7expedition

National Geographic Young Explorer Jay Simpson is part of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, a 1,200-mile adventure in the tracks of a lone wolf beginning May 2014. Using an estimated GPS track of the lone Wolf OR-7, they’ll have 42 days to mountain bike and hike across Oregon and Northern California. Their aim is to educate and share the story of a real wolf, dispelling myths and misinformation through educational products and presentations. Visit or7expedition.org or Facebook.com/or7expedition for more.Jay's previously walked over 400 miles in the mountains of South Africa, completing the first trek of the entire Rim of Africa Mountain Trail, to help educate South African youth on the Cape Floristic Region and conservation through the story of creating Africa’s first Mega-Trail. More at Rim of Africa Multimedia Trail Journal.

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