Wolves have labored under an undeserved, bad reputation through the ages, because of fear, bigotry and persecution by man. To set the record straight, here are a few things you may not know about wolves.
1. Wolves live in family groups, which include a breeding pair called alphas (mother and father wolves) Wolf bonds are strong, they hold the pack together. They will lay down their lives for each other. Family is everything to them.
“For the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack”…….Rudyard Kipling
2. Wolves kill for survival not fun. Predation is the act of killing for food.
4. Wolves are the direct ancestors of dogs. “The domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, differing from it by at most 0.2% of Mitochondrial DNA sequence. In comparison, the gray wolf differs from its closest wild relative, the coyote, by about 4% of Mtdna sequence….Robert K. Wayne, Ph.D.”
6. Wolves kill very few livestock, yet are continually blamed for livestock depredation. Wolves killed fewer livestock then domestic dogs or vultures.(NASS 06)
7. Wolves have great stamina, they are the super athletes of the animal world. Wolves can run 25 to 40 miles per hour for twenty minutes at a time. Now that’s an endurance runner.
8. Northern Rockies wolves lost their ESA protections in the Spring of 2009. They were hunted soon after, in the fall of the same year. It’s unheard of to hunt a newly delisted species so soon. It shows Montana and Idaho are NOT suitable “managers” of wolves. State “wolf management” is run by fish and game agencies, who’ve turned our forests and wild-lands into game farms, elevating ungulate numbers, while keeping predator populations low. Their policies include killing wolves for MINIMAL livestock depredation. Whole packs are destroyed, pups killed. Who kills puppies? Wildlife Services does. They are the extermination arm of the USDA and carry out the states “lethal control” of gray wolves.
9. In 2009 over 500 wolves lost their lives in the Northern Rockies.
10. Wolves sense of smell is 100 times stronger than humans. They have more than 200 million olfactory cells.
11. Wolves cherish their pups, the entire pack takes responsiblity for raising them. It truly takes a village to raise wolf pups.
Think of Limpy. He tended his babysitting duties with care before he struck out on his own, leaving his natal pack and the safety of Yellowstone National Park. Ultimately he was shot dead, on the very day the then Bush administration lifted ESA protections for wolves, in 2008. HE DIED FOR NOTHING.
12. Wolves may be on the move for 8 to 10 hours per day. A wolf pack can cover over a hundred miles per day.
13. Wolves can and do get kicked in the ribs or risk skull fracture every time they go out for breakfast.
14. Wolves mate for life unless their partner is killed or displaced, then they may find another mate.
16. Wolves are an indicator species, who do not adapt well to change. They are NOT coyotes, who are very adaptable.
17. Wolves are apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain. They play an integral role in keeping ecosystems healthy.
18. Wolves are the least dangerous of the large carnivores. Fatal wolf attacks on humans are RARE. Domestic dogs kill 20-30 people a year and bite another 4.5 million. Hunting accidents claim approx. 100 lives a year in the US and Canada and wound another 1000 people. An Oregon child was shot in the leg by a hunter while waiting at a bus stop. Cattle kill at least 50 people a year. Deer kill another 150 people annually, in-car crashes and cause over a billion dollars in damage.
19. Wolves were responsible for just 97 cow deaths in Montana in 2009, out of a population of 2.6 million cattle. The coyote is the main predator of cattle but you would never know it. Even so, coyotes and all predation on cattle are MINIMAL.
Aside from the brutal fact that every single cow raised for food will end up dead, the main cause of cattle losses is non-predation, IE: weather, disease and reproductive issues and theft.
Can you see how distorted this has gotten? Wolves are not the problem. Bigotry, irrational fear and outright lies directed at wolves, are the problem.
20. Wolves need our support more than ever. Spread the truth about wolves and don’t allow ignorance to flourish. Set the record straight. I’ve had many conversations with people who mindlessly repeat the same tired myths and half-truths we’ve all heard as if they’re fact.
Humans should hang their heads in shame over the treatment of wolves, using them as scapegoats to justify killing them.
Wolves are trying to survive and live their lives without interference, just like us.
Please write to local newspapers, speak with state and federal legislators. There is an assault on the ESA in Congress, that would strip gray wolves of their protections. There is no animal on this planet more persecuted then the wolf. Wolves CANNOT survive without the protection of the ESA. Fight for their right to be protected. We are their only voice.
Why is it animal cruelty to kill domestic dog pups but not wolf pups? Think about it!
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Posted in: Wolf Wars, gray wolf/canis lupus
Tags: Mitochondrial DNA, gray wolf, Rudyard Kipling, Gray wolf, dog, endangered species act, wolf facts not fiction