GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Oregon's famous wandering wolf seems to be staying out of trouble after settling for now in the southern Cascades, but there are no signs he has found a mate yet.
Meanwhile, a conservation group said Wednesday it is closer to picking a name for OR-7 in a contest that has drawn entries from kids around the world.
Oregon Wild chose five finalists from about 250 entries from children.
Arthur came from a child in Finland. Max came from a 6th grade class in North Clackamas, a second-grader in St. Paul, Minn., and a second-grader in Eugene. Journey came from a 7-year-old in Mountain Home, Idaho, and an 11-year-old in Dickinson, N.D.
Lupin came from a 13-year-old in La Grande. Takota, a Shoshone word meaning Friend, came from a 14-year-old born in Oregon now living in Oklahoma.
The winner will be named Jan. 2.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist John Stephenson checked on OR-7 last week after GPS tracking signals put him in Klamath County, between Crater Lake and Upper Klamath Lake. Stephenson didn't spot him, but found tracks in the snow from a single wolf and the carcass of an injured elk calf that had been fed on.
"He's stopped wandering, for the time being," said Stephenson. "We're glad to see he's feeding on elk, and not on livestock. There aren't very many livestock up that valley now. That's helpful."
The same can't be said for the Imnaha pack, which OR-7 left in Northeastern Oregon on Sept. 10 to establish a new territory and try to find a mate.
The pack has been blamed for 20 livestock deaths since 2010. Shortly after OR-7 left, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a kill order for the alpha male, OR-7's sire, and a sibling. That would leave the alpha female and a pup since OR-7 and other young adults dispersed. Conservation groups, including Oregon Wild, won a court order stopping the kill order while the Oregon Court of Appeals decides whether it was issued properly.
OR-7 has traveled more than 750 miles, ending up about 320 miles from home, becoming a media sensation along the way. He has settled in a 100 square mile area of the Cascade Range in Jackson and Klamath counties, where a wolf has not been seen in 65 years.
Stephenson said he will be going back to see if OR-7 has found a mate.
Though OR-7 remains the only confirmed wolf in Western Oregon, chances are there are others. In November, the department received 16 reports of wolf sightings, three reports of tracks, and one report of howling in the area west of U.S. Highway 97.
Wolves typically mate around January or February.