Wolf OR7

Wolf OR7 012512

A Fringe Lament


A few weeks ago, a grey wolf from Oregon wandered in to California.  The poor bastard, OR7 by name, is a young adult male, just the right age to get sick of the hassles at home and strike out on his own.  He’s wandering Eastern Lassen county looking for the same things all young males are looking for: grub and a chance to spread some seed.

He’ll find plenty of pets and spring calves to “wolf” down in Eastern Lassen County, but not much action.  Wolves come into season in late winter, so OR7 might hope to find a horny bitch looking for love.  In ideal situations, grey wolves mate for life and are monogamous, but this isn’t an ideal situation, since there are no known horny wolf bitches in California.  He’s likely to score a 30-something coyote, or a big butted German Shepard leaving the neighborhood some really big, really problematic dogs, but he isn’t likely to find his one true love.  Some guys make do with that.

Not OR7, but OR10.  Rumor has it OR10 was sick of OR7 hanging out and bringing home low friends, and OR7 was fed up with OR10 being in his business all the time.  Thanks, Oregon Dept of Animals.

OR7 is the same species of wolf that appears in the term “the wolf is at the door”.  He’s the same species as had such big eyes in Red Riding Hood.  He’s the werewolf, and he’s the cross dresser in sheep’s clothing.  Because they are far ranging, social and eat sick and injured animals, wolves carry a number of diseases across their range. 

As soon as humans learned to ride horses, they took after the Grey Wolf, which was the most widely distributed mammal in the world at the time.  Wolves eat large mammals that eat grass; so do we.  Wolves will also kill the pups of other wolves, and commonly kill coyotes and will dig out their pups, and will kill bear cubs when possible, and eat them.  The Grey Wolf is likely partly responsible for the extinction of the much larger Dire Wolf.  Wolves give no quarter: if they feel numerically superior and you’re a large mammal, they’ll probably kill you if possible.  This is why great grandpa carried a thuty-thuty lever gun. There was never any reason to expect us to get along, we’re both apex predators.  If there is enough room and enough game, humans and wolves get along fine; there isn’t much of either anymore.

Still, consider Grey Wolf OR7 as emblematic not of those who prey on the weak, but those who are born free and want to live free.  OR7 is being tracked, and his position is being reported by the California Department of Fish and Game.  He’s wearing a wire, a GPS collar, like someone under court supervision.  He’s likely also occasionally sighted from the air. 

You can run, but you can't hide: the Wolf in 21st Century California.  Hey, DFG, leave the damn wolf alone and do something about AIS!

Almost nobody, not even the natural enemy of the wolf, the rancher or shepherd, wants there to be no wolves.  Indeed, it might be that those rural people who are born free and want to live free might understand OR7 far better than some urban dweller who cheers OR7 out of a Disneyized anthropomorphism, a childish and purposeful ignorance of what wolves are, or what wild things are.

There are many ways of looking at OR7, but mostly people seem to be looking at him like he’s not.  He’s not the first of a re-established wolf population in California.  If anything, he’s the wolf equivalent of a dork, a guy who’s looking for action in all the wrong places.  He’s not a hero.  He’s absolutely not an indication that freedom and wildness have returned to California.  He’s protected by the Endangered Species Act, which of course means nothing.  Grey wolves are not extinct or even in danger of becoming extinct.  They continue to thrive in places where they were meant to thrive: low mountains and vast plains, open places where one lives by one’s wits and one’s brawn.  California is no place for anything that’s free.

And, as much as I sympathize with OR7, I don't really want him living around my livestock.  He's like several of my friends; I like them and completely understand where they're coming from, but they're a little too dangerous to have around the kids.  

The poor son of a bitch.  Wander as far as he can, he simply can’t escape government surveillance or the embrace of the nanny state.  I know just how he feels; it’s why I flip the bird at the sky when I go out to pump my bilge, I know the government or Google or someone is probably watching; I’m afraid of a website that will show where around the yard I tinkle.  If OR7 only knew what that crap on his neck was doing he’d probably chew his own head off to get free of it.  Take a lesson from the Klamath whale: only death can free you of the voyeurs and Bambi loving lookieloos once they start to chart your movements.


Good luck, OR7! 

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