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Famous Trekking Wolf Gets Apt New Name – "Journey"

Contest ends with new name for OR-7, now the first wolf to return to California in 90 years.

Naming and art contest winners announced just days after historic wolf becomes first of species to return to California in 90 years.

Famous Trekking Wolf Gets Apt New Name – "Journey"

The winning art entry depicting "Journey," submitted by eight-year old Enora from Portland.

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Portland, Oregon Jan 04, 2012

After ten days of public voting, the wolf formerly known as OR-7 now has a name.

Capturing just over 40 percent of nearly 700 on-line votes, the winning name for the first wolf west of the Cascade Mountains in 65 years and the first wolf to enter California in nearly a century is "Journey." The name suggestion came from a seven-year old girl in Mountain Home, Idaho, and an 11-year old in Dickinson, North Dakota.

The naming contest is part of the larger Connect With the Wild initiative sponsored by the conservation group Oregon Wild. The contest, launched in early November, was inspired by the adventures of OR-7, a young male wolf who broke away from the Imnaha Pack in northeast Oregon and eventually traveled over 700 miles to his new home in the wild backcountry of northern California's Siskiyou County.

Oregon Wild also announced today the winner of the art portion of the contest. Until this week – when a hunter from Central Point found what is likely OR-7 on a trail camera – no photos of the wolf now known as Journey existed. The art submissions in the Connect With the Wild contest all came from the imaginations of nearly 100 youth entrants. The winner came from an eight-year old Portland girl named Enora, whose depiction of wolves howling into a moonlight night captured the spirit of OR-7 and his search for a mate. Of the nine honorable mentions, eight came from youth ages six to 14 from across Oregon, with one entry from a fifth grade boy from Marina Del Rey in the state where Journey now calls home – California.

"For all his notoriety, a public photo of Journey only appeared just this week," commented Rob Klavins, who coordinates wolf education and outreach efforts for Oregon Wild. "It has been really inspiring to see all of the art submissions pour in from across the world. With his recent venture into California, Journey may well be the most famous wolf ever."

Indeed, news of OR-7's epic journey made headlines as far away as Finland, Australia, and London. The flood of naming suggestions (over 250) made it hard for the staff of Oregon Wild to narrow down to five finalists.

The finalists were:

  • Journey – the eventual winner submitted by two different entrants.
  • Arthur (Arttu) – from a 13-year old in Finland.
  • Lupin – from a 13-year old girl in La Grande, Oregon.
  • Max – suggested three times, from a 6th grade class in North Clackamas, Oregon, a second grader in St. Paul Minnesota, and a second grader in Eugene.
  • Takota – middle name of a 14-year old boy born in Oregon now living in Oklahoma who is half Shoshone. The name means "friend."

Among the many notable names:

  • Myeengan – (suggested twice with two different spellings) "Wolf" in Ojibway. From one of the submitters: "The creation story tells of a wolf who walked with first man to name all the creatures and they learned through their travels that they were brothers and so were all things. When they went their separate ways the creator told them they would always be connected and what happened to one would happen to the other. The people who would come later, they were told, would either fear them both, respect them both or misunderstand them both"
  • Zev Zev – means "wolf" in Hebrew. The suggestion came from a boy in Sacramento, who shares the name and wrote (a number of California submissions shared the sentiment) "I hope OR-7 starts a family in Oregon and someday his pups move to California. I want wolves in California."
  • Whoseafraida – the first submission in the contest was from a nine-year old girl in Northeast Oregon very near established wolf territory.

Relevant links:

Oregon Wolves Facebook Page with gallery photos of the art submissions

Connect with the Wild Campaign and contest page

OR-7 page (includes links to other resources on wolves and wolf recovery)

Oregon WildBlog post going into more detail on the names entered in the contest


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