Wolf OR-7 Expedition

Trekking 1,200 miles in the Tracks of a Lone Wolf

Feature-length documentary, expedition, and multimedia advocacy and education

See below for written article of my take aways.

Wolf OR-7 Expedition Feature-Length Documentary Film


Play Video

2:37 run time 

Full Film (Free Viewing)

Play Video

1:22:52 run time

Wolf OR-7 Educational Story Map

Produced by Jay Simpson with artwork by Emma Munger. Wolf OR-7 Story Map by the Wild Peace Alliance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

We’ve illustrated a map of Wolf OR-7’s generalized dispersal to depict the remarkable story of an actual wolf living in the 21st Century. Alongside the illustrated map, we’ve included details about his life and relatives, the history of wolves in the USA, basic wolf ecology, and more. We illustrated the map with schools in mind. 

The first time I encountered a news article about Wolf OR-7, it included a simple map of Oregon that had an erratic, mysterious line crossing the state. These maps have become a way to relate to and understand the story of Wolf OR-7. Maps are also used by state and federal biologists to understand Wolf OR-7, plotting his estimated lines of travel and geo-located data points. But there are many aspects to Wolf OR-7’s story left unsaid by these maps, so I decided to create a map including additional context to better depict the narrative landscape surrounding Wolf OR-7.

Our Wolf OR-7 Story Map focuses on commonly agreed-upon facts that can be highlighted through the life of Wolf OR-7. Because of the limited space for accompanying text, there are many more details that we wished to include but could not. Below I’ve included some of the details that were cut before its final production.

More details from the map text:

  • The Wolf known as B-300, Wolf OR-7’s mother, has a very fascinating story of her own. Read more from our blog post The Story of Wolf B-300: Mother of Wolf OR-7 & Oregon’s First Wolf Resident. Her VHS radio tracking collar was also replaced by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, so she is also known as OR-2.
  • Wolf OR-7’s father is known as OR-4. He is the largest wolf to be collared by the state of Oregon, and also suspected to be responsible for many of the livestock depredations by the Imnaha pack.
  • As a young wolf, Wolf OR-7 was likely to have observed if not participated in at least a few of the Imnaha pack’s confirmed depredations (kills) of livestock in Wallowa County.
  • When wolves receive collars in Oregon, it is customary to take their photograph to include with many other biometric details recorded upon capture. On the day Wolf OR-7 was collared, it was so cold (-13 degrees) that the camera was frozen and unable to take the photograph. Read more in our expedition blog post It All Began with a Collar.
  • As a young wolf, Wolf OR-7 engaged in “pre-dispersals” which are temporary, short-distance trips away from a pack. On one of his pre-dispersals, Wolf OR-7 crossed into Washington state. Afterward, he returned to his pack, later to disperse fully in September of 2011 to California.
  • Wolf OR-7’s GPS collar periodically records his location to the collar’s internal memory and, after 24 hours, transmits the data to researchers’ computers via satellite signals. Therefor nearly all location data about GPS collared wolves is historical, only observable hours (potentially days if there is poor signal reception) after the wolf was located there.
  • In 1843, people gathered for “Wolf Meetings” in Salem, Oregon, to address fears of livestock depredation. These lead to the first Wolf Bounties in the Pacific Northwest, and also to the establishment of a provincial government and Governor post. These eventually grew into the Oregon state government.
  • Oregon bounty ledger books as described in Michael Robinson's book Predatory Bureaucracy
    This is an image of the actual bounty sheet that is thought to be the last record of wolves in Oregon
    Oregon bounty ledger books as described in Michael Robinson’s book Predatory Bureaucracy
  • Wolf OR-7’s presence in California inspired four conservation groups to petition for the protection of the gray wolf by the California Endangered Species Act. They were successful, and the gray wolf gained this protection on June 4, 2014.
  • Mother and father wolves are known as a “Breeding Pair” within packs as they form a partner bond within a pack. Once it has confirmed that a breeding pair and at least two of their offspring survive past January 1 into a new year, the family unit is then known as a pack.
  • Oregon’s wolf pack names are generally taken from the wildlife management unit in which they live. New packs are designated after a breeding pair and at least 2 pups survive from spring through the New Year.
  • State biologists worked to either replace Wolf OR-7’s GPS tracking collar (before the internal batteries failed and the collar stopped functioning) or collar his mate. Attempts to do so were ultimately unsuccessful.
  • Surpassing the expected lifespan of the GPS tracking collar by well over a year, Wolf OR-7’s GPS tracking collar is the longest functioning wolf GPS tracking collar ever deployed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • The lifespan of a wolf varies greatly in the wild. If a wolf survives into adulthood, and avoids disease, human threats or other injury, it’s possible for wolves to average ten years of age. A 16 year old wild wolf was once recorded.