Nightly News | January 06, 2012
>>> there's been a rare sighting in california , something that hasn't been seen there in more than 80 years. that's a wild grey wolf . scientists have been tracking him for some time. they have given him a name, journey . they say he's now on the prowl for a mate as in "don't stop believing." the story tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren. [ howling ]
>> reporter: in a way it's a love story .
>> he's looking for a mate. he has to travel because we have so few in oregon.
>> reporter: a lone wolf who heard the call of the wild and left his pack for a solo trip south -- way south.
>> this has been a spectacular journey for journey .
>> reporter: journey is now his name after being tracked by a gps collar 1,000 miles over mountains and highways all the way to california . the first known wild grey wolf in the golden state since 1924 .
>> it's exciting to know that they are actually coming back into the wild .
>> reporter: for almost 90 years the only wolves in california have been like this, raised in captivity. these guys are used in the movies. it seems now there is a new star in town. journey picked up quite a fan club on social media . the contest to name him saw submissions from as far as finland. there is even paparazzi. the only picture of him snapped by a hunter's motion activated camera. but the new celebrity's life isn't all glamour. he set out looking for love.
>> he's probably very lone some. i bet at night he howls, listens. [ howling ]
>> reporter: wolves were reintroduced in the west in the 1990s after almost being hunted to extinction.
>> journey 's trip is only possible because we have strong environmental laws and shows how far we've come.
>> reporter: how far will journey go on his epic quest for love? if he can stay safe from hunters and ranchers, not thrilled with the return of the wild wolf.
>> maybe we'll see him in downtown los angeles .
>> reporter: perhaps a true hollywood ending if the wolf population continues to spread, maybe some day this journey will find true love . kristen dahlgren, nbc news, frasier park, california .