OR7 – The Journey

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With the arrival of a gray wolf on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in December, and her subsequent shooting in Utah, this is a timely documentary. This film documents a remarkable wildlife success story that is taking shape in Oregon. While Oregon’s last wolf bounty was paid in 1947, wolves have begun to rebound after they were granted protections under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973. Oregon is once again home to a fragile, recovering population of gray wolves.

All of the state’s wolves were confined to the northeast corner until one male dispersed from his pack in 2011 and made history by becoming the first documented wolf west of the Cascades since 1947, and the first in California in nearly a century. In the process, he inspired people around the world and has become an ambassador for recovering native wildlife. That wolf was dubbed OR-7 by biologists and was given the name “Journey” by schoolchildren in a naming contest.

OR7 – The Journey tells the story not just of Journey, but also of his species. It is a story of survival and inspiration. But even as most Americans have come to appreciate native wildlife and wild places, 21st century science and values are coming head to head with old prejudices that put the future of wolves – and OR-7 – in jeopardy. (Dir. by Clemens Schenk; 2014, USA 67 mins., Not Rated)