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California wolf is named ‘Journey,’ photo released

The lone gray wolf that has ventured where none of his kind have been for nearly 90 years has a new nickname: Journey.

A first photo of the wolf, which entered California on Dec. 28, 2011, has also now been published, snapped by an unmanned trail camera in Oregon. 

The wandering young male is officially known as OR7, the name given him by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife after biologists captured the wolf and outfitted him with a GPS collar last year.

The conservation group Oregon Wild thought he deserved a more personal name and launched a children’s contest that drew entries from around the globe. The winner, picked in online voting and announced Wednesday, was submitted by two different entrants, a 7-year-old from Mountain Home, Idaho, and an 11-year-old from Dickinson, N.D.

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OR7 became the first wolf recorded in California since 1924 when he crossed the border last week after a months’ long trek from his pack in northeastern Oregon. He has trotted roughly 800 miles since he set out on his own in early September.

His GPS coordinates place him in eastern Siskiyou County. After resting for a few days, he is drifting south again, according to the California Department of Fish and Game. His movements are unpredictable and he could just as easily meander back to Oregon as stay in California.

If OR7 does remain in California, the department may give him its own official name to distinguish him as the Golden State’s first resident wolf in modern times.

The photo was taken on Nov. 14 by a game camera set up by Allen Daniels, who put the device in the woods east of Butte Falls, Ore., last fall to capture photographs of black-tailed deer he was hunting.

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