Why It's So Important to Save the Wolves (Video)

Saving Wolves from extinction is important to all the food chain and the world  


Even though there is not a clear case of a human being killed by a healthy wolf, the popular society has been quick to label them as vicious, bloodthirsty and ferocious predators. For more than 200 hundred years, wolves have been hunted, trapped, and poisoned for a multitude of irrational motives. To this day only a small number of wolves can be found in Eastern Europe, China and North America thanks to the efforts of wild life organizations who have included them on the list of endangered species.

Although wolves may look different from each other in color and size, most of the North American and Canadian Gray wolves, belong to variations of the species called “Canis Lupus” in the north and ”Canis Rufus” which is the red wolf limited to the South Eastern United States. Wolves are one of the largest relatives on the family of dogs. An average-size wolf may weigh 90 to 120 pounds, stands 25 to 30 inches from the ground and stretch five to six feet from nose to tail. Wolves look much like a “German Shepherd dog” with a thicker fur and a bushy tail.

In many ways, a wolf resembles dogs and lions: Like dogs, because wolves are very intelligent, protective, playful and loyal to their family. Like lions because they are tactical hunters that work together to catch their prey. Yet lions are called “Kings of the Jungle”, Dogs are called “Man’s best friends” while wolves are irrationally feared, misunderstood and mystified as “sly, evil and malicious”.

Wolves live in packs, a kind of extended family, which may count from five to twenty five members. Wolves are adaptable to live in forest, grassland, mountains and frozen tundra of the far north. They travel, hunt, eat, fight and play together under the leadership of a pair called the Alpha male and the Alpha female. Every member of a pack has a place; some wolves are higher and some are lower within a dominance hierarchy that helps to prevent fighting and maintain the unity of the pack.

The dynamics of a wolf pack are complex, intricate and profound. .Interactions between pack members transmits past experience, regulates individual behavior, reinforce the pack structure and keep their size within an ecological balance to the extend of available prey. The wolf has the ability to put aside his or her immediate need for the good of the pack. Equally, the pack has the ability to recognize and meet the needs of each individual wolf within the group. This central characteristic determines the diversity and hence the strength of the pack. As Kipling said more than 100 years ago in The Jungle Book, “The Strength of the pack is the wolf , and the strength of the wolf is the pack”.

People like Jamie and Jim Dutcher, who live and work with wolves, say that they are very near in nature to humans. Wolves are highly sensitive to emotions and like humans, are individuals, each one is to be taken on their own terms and personal characteristics. Feelings and emotions are subjective and prone to change; therefore are no easy to understand and describe. But for the wolf, as well as for humans, feelings are an essential component of the stuff of life. Fondness, playfulness, tolerance, celebration, jealousy, depression, irritability and even rage, are few of the comparative behavior patterns observed.

When a baby wolf is born, the mother wolf stays with the pup during the first few weeks and usually don’t have to hunt. The father and other members of the pack, will bring her food and provide additional protection. As the pups grow, play becomes the primary outlet for exercise, hierarchical testing and aggression. Wrestling, chasing, digging and chewing skills eventually becomes more hunting oriented. Thus through games and role playing, wolves test their strength and weakness which will determine their role and place within the dominance order of the pack. After about two years, the wolf is old enough to stay within the ranks of the family or leave to find mate and start a new pack.

Wolves can run for miles without tiring. Their legs and toes are long with strong muscles, which help them to take longer steps and move faster. Wolves hunt alone to catch small preys and in group to chase, encircle and bring a large animal to a standstill.

Like most predators, wolves have marvelous sense of hearing, sight and smell. They also are equipped with powerful jaws and pointed teeth well-suited for catching, tearing flesh and eating other animals.

Wolves communicate by body gestures, smells and sounds. Physical postures are continue reminder of social status among pack members for dominance, submission, exploration, greeting and friendliness. Wolves have a keener sense of smell and large olfactory lobes in the brain for processing information. Scent glands located on their head, toes and tail are used to mark objects and territory. Sent marking is used by wolves to define their own boundaries as much as to advertise to outsiders were the lines are drawn.

When wolves gather together for bonding, mating or playing, they make all kind of sounds. Vocal communication include high-pitched squeaking and whining used for submission and greetings. Barking and growling are used as threat, challenge or warning. Howling is the most mystified and famous call of the wolves. Contrary to popular belief, howling is not more frequent during full moons. It is used regularly and for an infinite number of reasons; There are welcoming howls for assembling the pack before or after a hunt, to claim territory or just for the socialization pleasure of it when every one in the pack joins the chorus.

Researchers believe that howling and other vocalization carry individual pieces of information which characterize each wolf by a spectrograph or voice print. Since more dominant animals tend to have greater overtones, the voice print could be read by others to understand the different messages and something about the social status of a particular wolf.

The howling can be herd from three to six miles away making the imagination of anyone to believe that the wolves are nearby.. Although many people have heard howling, few people have close encounter with wolves. First, there are few wild wolves to see and second, wolves are travelers, curious-but-scared of humans and prefer to stay away from populated areas.

In today’s world, the wild wolf can not survive without governmental support, human understanding and public education to separate facts from fiction after centuries of misinformation.