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Oregon's Legendary Wandering Wolf May Have Met A Mate

OR-7 traveled years to find a new home and a mate.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
OR-7 traveled years to find a new home and a mate.

Oregon Public Broadcasting brings us an epic tale: OR-7, a long-wandering wolf who ventured from northeast Oregon all the way to California in search of new territory and a chance for a mate, may have finally found one.

Biologists with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they imaged a black wolf in the area where they've been tracking OR-7 with a GPS collar. A camera also happened to catch that black wolf squatting to urinate, a telltale sign that it was female.

OPB adds:

The GPS collar on OR-7 had been showing him staying in a localized area over the past couple months. That fits the pattern of behavior of breeding wolves.

"It's likely that this new wolf and OR-7 have paired up," [biologist John Stephenson] said. "More localized GPS collar data from OR-7 is an indicator that they may have denned. If that's correct, they would be rearing pups at this time of year."

Biologists probably won't be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later because they won't want to disturb them at such a young age. Pups are generally born in mid-April, so their pups would would be less than a month old by now.

OR-7 captivated the world when he was found wandering in California in December of 2011, a few months after he left his pack in northeast Oregon.

If OR-7 and his mate did indeed produce pups, it will mark the first known wolf breeding in the Oregon Cascades since the early 20th century.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.