Famous wolf’s inability to find a mate in California is not surprising-

The West’s currently best known wolf, named “Journey” in a contest held by conservation groups, did not find a mate in California. Now mating season is over. The wolf, officially OR(7), has returned to SW Oregon, although his lack of a mate is not necessarily the reason why. What is a lone wolf to do?

Closely watched lone wolf quits California for Oregon. By Alex Dobuzinskis. Reuters.

Meanwhile in Idaho, for the first time in modern America, pregnant wolves are now being shot in Idaho’s seemingly never ending wolf hunting season. The hunting and trapping season in Idaho  is slated to finally end March 31, about the time wolves begin to den.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

28 Responses to Luckless mating season is over. “Journey” OR(7) returns to Oregon from California

  1. avatar Paul says:

    How can the mere fact that wolves are allowed to be killed during mating season, and while pregnant not be grounds for re-listing? No matter how IDFG tries to spin this Idaho should be ashamed. I just hope that OR(7)doesn’t befall the same fate as his brother did by the hands of that poacher.

    • avatar aves says:

      The only legal reason for re-listing would be a failure to maintain at least 15 breeding pairs or 150 wolves as detailed in the federal de-listing rule. For better or worse, ethical and moral objections to the hunt are unlikely to trigger re-listing.

  2. avatar Dude, the bagman says:

    Journey, eh? And it’s wandering between northern CA and southern OR? Giving the wolf a hippie name should make for some hearty guffaws and clever jokes on the anti-wolf side.

    They already view the animal as some kind of manifestation of liberal (pronounced “lib-tard” in their language) social views and government tyranny. They should have named the thing Ronald Reagan.

    • avatar SAP says:

      I just want OR-7 to know: Don’t Stop Believin’.

    • avatar Maska says:

      Just a reminder: the name Journey was selected from names submitted by children. I doubt that they had politics in mind when they submitted the names—thank heavens. 😉

      • avatar SAP says:

        Maska – thanks – that is good to know.

        Children are way more direct about what they like and don’t like than adults are. We might do well to follow their lead a little more — to remember that OR-7 “Journey” is doing his own thing, and to just marvel at it and get in touch with our innate sense of wonder.

        Instead, we’re inclined to tart up our sense of wonder and beauty with a lot of ostensibly sophisticated verbage about “ecosystems” and what not. Which turns questions like wolf recovery into utilitarian arguments: If wolves perform some utilitarian function in “regulating” ecosystems, is there some alternative agent for carrying out the same regulating function? Of course, many of the things wolves do could be carried out by human “managers,” as RMNP in Colorado chose to do. Of course, we could argue that wolves might do it cheaper/better by many different measures.

        Do we really want to go down that road? Because really, for me, I have to say that I simply prefer that wolves be out there. Start making the utilitarian arguments, don’t be surprised when people push back with utilitarian counterarguments.

        Somewhere along the way (I think I’ve been going through this process myself), we become self-conscious and ashamed of unabashed enthusiasms. One might feel childish for loving tigers, grizzlies, wolves. So, we start dressing it up in utilitarian arguments so we’re not so vulnerable.

        Be vulnerable. It will make you stronger, and we won’t get led down these instrumental cul-de-sacs about “ecosystem services.”

        George Monbiot made the argument very well about eight years ago in this piece:

        “Natural Aesthetes: Forget about usefulness, beauty alone is reason enough to justify conservation”

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/jan/13/greenpolitics.environment

        “A little too abstract, a little too wise,
        It is time for us to kiss the Earth again.”
        — Robinson Jeffers

        • avatar Salle says:

          Can’t argue with that eloquent articulation! Thanks, SAP.

        • avatar Doryfun says:

          SAP

          I liked the George Monbiot article. However, as he points out:
          “This legacy of exclusion makes conservation look harder to justify on the grounds of aesthetics. But it seems to me that this is the only sensible argument that can be made. It is surely sufficient to say that wildlife should be preserved because it is wonderful.”

          While I agree we can appreciate beauty for no other reason, conservationists still have to live in a world that is fueled by the cold hard dollar, (industrial economy). Beauty alone, seems to have no fire power in a system based on utility. We can only wish it so. Unfortunately we seem ever bound to utilitarian uses as the firepower for salvos to be used on the battlefield between what is saved or not.

          George continues: “As far as the planet is concerned, it is not concerned. It is a lump of rock. It is inhabited by clumps of self-replicating molecules we call lifeforms, whose purpose is to reverse entropy for as long as possible, by capturing energy from the sun or other lifeforms. The ecosystem is simply the flow of captured energy between these lifeforms. It has no values, no wishes, no demands. It neither offers nor recognises cruelty and kindness.”

          What if we viewed the earth like many primal peoples: as Motherearth? What is the chance we might respect it more? What if this “lump of rock” planet is one giant Mother? All things have energy, even rocks. Could this energy be related to the Great Mystery, the Great Spirit, which flows through all things? Ecosystems might not recognize curelty or kindness, but people do.

          Monbiot seems to forget that the human predictament is based on the “world revolves around me” (love/hate wolves worldview) which always taints how we choose to view the world. How can this not lead to utilitatarian viewpoints? Pleasure watching or killing is still a utilitarian bias. People spend/make money to do both.

          I am more concerned about all the mis-information and brown science floating around. The following quote from “Betrayal of Science and Reason – How Anti-environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future” – Paul & Anne Ehrllich, apples well to many of our problems, including attitudes/policies about wolves:

          “ Despite the evidence and deepening consensus among scientists, humanity seems to be engaged in a remarkable episode of folly. Folly – purusing policies injurious to self-interest while being advised against them – is nothing new; it has plagued governemnts since their inception. What has changed throught the ages is not lack of wisdom in politics but rather the price to be paid for that lack. Despite a vastly enhanced understanding of our planety’s life-support systems, humanity is continually assaulting them – degrading and destroying within a few generations the ecossytems that provide the very basis of civilization. Alll the world’s nations are pursuing this course despite knowldege of its consequneces being available and despite the warnings of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. And that folly is being encouraged and promotoe by the individuals and organizations whose efforts we refer to collectvbiely as the browhlash.”

          It is also why I like to hear Gamblins take on many things, to learn from a rep what is up with IDF&G. Unfortunately he hasn’t been present for awhile,to answer some good science questions put to him recently, perhaps do to many personal attacks he has taken on this blog. Killing the nessenger serves what?

  3. avatar Nancy says:

    “Journey, eh? And it’s wandering between northern CA and southern OR?”

    I’m both surprised AND amazed Dude that he made it back to Oregon after that kind of long distance trek, looking for a soulmate.

    Perhaps the human species could take some lessons from his “journey” everytime we feel the need to just blow another species away, with little (or any) thought to the complexity of their lives.

    • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

      Soulmate! I L’ed OL.

      Don’t get me wrong – I wish the animal well, am rooting for it, and am thankful it hasn’t been shot…yet.

      But given the publicity and our human tendency to use wolves as political football in a larger conflict, I wonder if we’re setting this animal up to be a martyr for our cause. You know there are probably people who’d love to take a shot if given a chance, and I don’t know if naming the animal journey is helping.

      Remember Rammell’s comment about how there should be “Obama tags?” I don’t think my concern about this kind of symbolism is as absurd as it sounds. There are plenty of angry people out there with absurd beliefs. If you can’t shoot a hippie, shoot something the hippies like.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “I wonder if we’re setting this animal up to be a martyr for our cause”

        So dude:

        mar·tyr (märtr)
        n.
        1. One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles.
        2. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.
        3.
        a. One who endures great suffering: a martyr to arthritis.
        b. One who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy.
        tr.v. mar·tyred, mar·tyr·ing, mar·tyrs
        1. To make a martyr of, especially to put to death for devotion to religious beliefs.

        Putting the above aside, guessing this definition of martyr is what you are refering to?

        2. To inflict great pain on; torment.

        • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

          Nancy, don’t be obtuse. You know what I meant. I’m not trying to argue with you, pick a fight, or start a Scalia-esque war of dictionary definitions that suit the result you want. However –

          1.
          a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
          2.
          a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
          3.
          a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
          4.
          a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

          Adverb (used with object)
          5.
          to make a martyr of, especially by putting to death.
          6.
          to torment or torture.

          2,3,5, or 6 would suffice. 5 in particular.

          But I was more facetiously referring to the Zevonian definition of “martyr.” As in “Accidentally Like a Martyr.”

      • avatar Maska says:

        I understand where you’re coming from, Dud, but it seems to me this wolf could be named Butch Otter and it wouldn’t make one iota of difference to the “angry people with absurd beliefs.” After all, we’ve lost 38 Mexican wolves to illegal shooting, and not one of those had a name (and that’s not counting approximately 45-50 that have simply disappeared from telemetry over the past 13 years).

        • avatar Maska says:

          Excuse me, Dude. Bad typo. Actually, I always enjoy your comments. 🙂

        • avatar Dude, the bagman says:

          I agree that the name itself probably won’t make a difference. But I do think the personification and publicity could bring negative attention as well as positive.

          The positive attention could help the cause by raising awareness of conservation values, but I think it could also endanger the individual wolf by making it a poster child/focal point for those causes. Possibly setting it up to be “assassinated” for the ideology the poor animal unwillingly represents. Hence the martyr thing.

          The fact that kids named the wolf could be proof to some that them liberal’s is endoctornating and coruppting our kid’s to the NWO UN socialism agenda.

  4. avatar CL says:

    He made his “Journey” now we’ll all feel for him.

    What about the Cougar that traveled from S. Dakota to Connecticut in 2010, documented, and was then killed by a car?
    Did we all “feel” for him for making a “journey”?

    How about all the poor coyotes that have to live with those damn humans in L.A., Chicago or NY City? Guess they need to go on a Journey….

  5. avatar CL says:

    For those of you that dont’t have a clue. Animals will travel very great distances on an unexplicable whim. Those who put great effort and dollars forth to figure out why,don’t have an answer. And never will other than speculation. Hence the word WILD.
    Of course us humans have really put a kink in that word.
    Wake up and smell some elk poop.

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      Boy, you really taught us a thing or two didn’t you? Actually there is a perfectly good explanation for why young animals travel long distances, particularly wolves. The behavior is called dispersal and it serves several functions for a species. It helps maintain genetic diversity throughout a population, it also helps a species populate new areas or vacant territories. Biologists, unlike yourself, have understood this for a very long time but thank you for setting us straight.

      • avatar SAP says:

        Ken, I think “CL” must be one of the shock troops in The War on Imaginary People.

        In this case, the Imaginary People Who Care Too Much About This One Particular Wolf While Callously Ignoring Other Animals Who Engaged in Similar Behavior.

        Damn you, Imaginary People!

        • avatar SAP says:

          Kind of silly to use the Connecticut mountain lion as “evidence” in some way . . . if you Google it, clearly the cat generated all sorts of public fascination. The cat was not radioed, though, so really no one could track his travels in the same way they have OR-7. Unlike OR-7, people didn’t really know much about his “journey” until he was dead on a lab table.

          And even then, we can’t say for certain that he himself came all the way from South Dakota, just that he is related to cats there. But it’s absurd to claim that people somehow weren’t /aren’t interested in him.

  6. avatar Jon Way says:

    Of course, not many wolves are collared and followed like this. It would be fascinating if he heads back towards his natal area, finds a mate, then travels back to the CA area… That might be a way that wolf populations establish in isolated areas – is first finding the area, then coming back to it at a later time…. This assuming that he survives…

  7. avatar Richie.G says:

    At this point I think everybody here has some good points, their opinions are valid.It’s good to see people from other countries interested in this wolf and his travels,at the same time it brings too much attention to this wolf. Some hateful person could kill this poor animal,just for the sake of hurting others, and having his second of fame. Humans have a dark side, and when it is surfaced,it is really ugly.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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