OR-7 – A Lone Wolf's Story


The male wolf known as “OR7” was born into the Imnaha pack in northeastern Oregon in spring 2009. He weighed approximately 90 pounds when collared with a radio transmitter by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in February 2011. He is referred to by biologists as OR7 because he was the seventh wolf radio-collared in Oregon. His GPS collar transmitted location information to satellites daily until 2014, at which time it stopped functioning because the batteries expired. The VHF portion of his collar still transmits and he can be detected with an antenna.

OR7 left his natal pack in 2011. The dispersal of younger individuals from a pack is common. Dispersing wolves generally attempt to join other packs, carve out new territories within occupied habitat, or form their own pack in unoccupied habitat.

Dispersal – Oregon

OR7 dispersed from the Imnaha pack in September 2011. Between September and early November he followed an approximately southwesterly course that took him across parts of Baker, Grant, Harney, Deschutes, Lake, Klamath and Douglas counties. During that journey he crossed Interstate 84 and U.S. Routes 26, 395, 20 and 97.

Between November 8 and December 23, OR7’s movements slowed and he occupied a broad area near the crest of the southern Cascades. This area included portions of Jackson and Klamath counties and included much of the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Field work conducted by ODFW determined that OR7 visited an elk carcass and livestock carcasses (bone pile) in this area. On November 14, an animal thought likely to be OR7 was photographed by a hunter’s trail camera on public land east of Butte Falls.

In late December, OR7 left the Sky Lakes area and headed south-southwest to near Howard Prairie Lake and Oregon Route 66. He then turned eastward, ultimately crossing the Klamath River and Highway 97. On December 28, he crossed into California northeast of Dorris, a small town in Siskiyou County.

Dispersal – California

While visiting California, OR7 traveled in the southern Cascades, across portions of the Modoc Plateau, in the Lassen and Plumas National Forests, and as far south as Tehama, Shasta, and Butte counties. His average daily movement was approximately 15 air miles. Since animals do not typically walk in straight lines, the actual distance traveled was likely much larger.

Dispersing wolves can readily traverse most habitat types and OR7 passed through ponderosa pine forests, mixed conifer forests, lava flows, sagebrush shrublands, juniper woodlands and agricultural lands. Although he did use private lands (timberlands in particular), he traversed public lands for most of his route. No public safety incidents or agricultural losses stemming from wolf damage were reported in California while OR7 occurred here.

OR7 crossed the border from California to Oregon and back several times, finally mating and establishing a territory in Klamath and Jackson counties, Oregon in 2013. OR7 and his mate produced 3 pups in 2014. Evidence shows that they produced a second litter in 2015 but the details are unknown at this time.

open map Map of OR7's path in California (PDF)
This map contains data through April 23, 2013
On March 12/13, 2013, Wolf OR7 returned to Oregon then made a brief return to California on April 20, 2013. Again, OR7 returned to Oregon on April 23, 2013. We will not post updates while he is in Oregon. Wolves in Oregon are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Oregon does not post daily location information on wolves. For more information, please visit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.