EUGENE, Ore. - State officials and environmental activists are taking steps to prevent wolves migrating into Western Oregon from being shot and killed.
Wolves are a protected endangered species in Oregon. The wolves enjoy both state and federal protection statewide, but wolves in far Eastern Oregon have been federally delisted. Those wolves still enjoy state protection.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has cautioned hunters in southwest Oregon to take care not to confuse coyotes and wolves. While the two are different in size and shape, from a distance - or when a wolf is young - the two may appear similar.
While the majority of the state's wolves live in northeastern Oregon near, a wolf known as OR-7 has walked across the Cascades into Western Oregon and south across the California border. Wildlife officials suspect the young male is seeking a mate.
The environmental group Oregon Wild, formerly known as the Oregon Natural Resources Council, held a contest to give the wolf - at least in popular culture - a name.
After 10 days of voting, the winning name was "Journey." The name was suggested by a 7-year-old girl in Mountain Home, Idaho, and another child in North Dakota, the group said.
Oregon Wild also held an art contest asking kids to draw OR-7. There have been no confirmed photographs of the wolf, although a hunter from Central Point captured an image on a trail camera believed to be the first image of the wandering wolf.
The winning entry in the art contest shows a wolf howling - not alone, but with a mate.
The group got over 250 name suggestions and winnowed the list down to a list of finalists, including the eventual winner.
The five 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, Ore.
- Max – suggested three times, from a 6th grade class in North Clackamas, Ore.; a second grader in St. Paul, Minn;, and a second grader in Eugene, Ore.
- Takota – middle name of a 14 year old boy born in Oregon now living in Oklahoma who is half Shoshone. The name means "friend".
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Jan. 6, at ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem. The 8 a.m. meeting's agenda includes the 2011 Oregon Wolf Management Report summarizing ODFW’s wolf management activities since January 2011.