For the first time in almost 90 years, the state of California has become home to a wolf.
A few days shy of the new year, OR7 meandered alone into the Golden State after crossing the state border shared by Oregon. The two-year-old gray wolf is the first and only documented wolf in California since 1924, and is protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
Journey, as the wolf is nicknamed, originally belongs to a wolf pack in Wallowa County, which is also home to Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon. In February, Oregon state scientists attached a GPS collar to the wandering wolf. Since then, scientists have tracked Journey as he zigzagged throughout the state, becoming the first wild wolf in more than 60 years to appear west of the Cascades, and eventually reaching northern California Dec. 28 – all in search of a mate.
Since Journey’s southward quest for a mate began, he has trekked through Siskiyou National Forest, Umpqua National Forest, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Today, Journey was last seen roaming through Lassen National Forest in northern California.