What Happens When Wolves Are Returned to an Area?

As I indicated yesterday — in How Much do You Know about Wolves? — wolves no longer roam over huge expanses of North America.

In most of America, the gray wolf is endangered.  Anger and hostility have greeted the efforts to return the wolf to some areas of America.

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It is hard to imagine the size of the Gray Wolf without seeing one next to an adult male, as is in this photo.

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The Other Side of the Coin

The text that came with this photo is an eye-opener!  Written by Idaho Rep Phil Hart, it leaves the reader in little doubt of his concern.

The Headline & Text

Giant Idaho Wolves Hunt, Kill In Packs Of Up To 20

“The Canadian Gray Wolf runs in packs of up to twenty wolves. For every one animal they kill to eat, these Canadian wolves kill about three more just for the fun of it.

The biologists call it ‘sport-reflex killing’ or ‘lustful killing’. The Canadian Gray Wolf is a killing machine.

These are federal wolves, as it was the federal government who introduced them into Idaho over our objections.

They told the state of Idaho that the wolves would be considered recovered when we had a total of 100 wolves in Idaho. Now we have between 800 and 2,000 wolves and the situation is out of control.

Idaho’s wolf emergency is a state issue. And in this situation, the state of Idaho has both a duty and the authority to protect its people and their property.

House Bill 343 lays out the facts, the argument and the authority to do so.” – Idaho Rep Phil Hart

What Does This Mean?

As I do not live in Idaho, nor do I own land or animals in that state, I’m ill-equipped to comment on the validity of returning wolves to Idaho.

However, the emotion that pours from the article above fascinates me.  Wolves and strong emotions have always been connected in men’s minds.

Ever since MDH,* Richard, emailed this article to me, I’ve been interested in the interplay between the biologists (who think they are correct to rebalance nature by returning a predator to an area where they once roamed freely) and the citizens of Idaho (who worry that the predators are killing for fun, not food).

Do You Live in Idaho? 

How do you see this issue?  Care to comment?

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* MDH = My Deer Husband, also known as “He who likes to be obeyed” ( but rarely is).

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm  Comments Off on What Happens When Wolves Are Returned to an Area?  
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How Much do You Know about Wolves?

“Through the centuries, we have projected onto the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves. “

— Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men

Gray wolves are the largest animals in the canid family. His extended family includes: jackals, domestic dogs, dingoes, foxes, bush dogs and other wild dogs.

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Man has had a love-hate relationship with wolves for thousands of years.  One way to understand the wolf is to learn more about him.

When the Gray Wolf Breeds

Surprisingly, gray wolves only breed once per year, in the months of January or February.  The  latitude where the wolves live determines the breeding date.

After a gestation period of 63 days, the pups are born between March and May.  A litter is usually 5 or 6 pups.

“… What Big Eyes You Have …”

The average male gray wolf is about 6 feet long (including the tail) and between 70 and 100 lbs.  Measuring from 33 to 38 inches at the shoulder, a gray wolf is an awesome sight in the wild!

Females are a bit smaller.

Gray wolves are at their largest in the coldest climates, where they use the extra bulk to conserve their body heat.

Although called ‘gray’ wolves, their color may actually range from white to black  — with many other shades included: tan, buff, sandy brown, cream and red.

How They Live

Wolves live in packs.  These packs vary in size from fewer than 7 to a maximum of about 20.  The amount of prey helps decide the ideal size of a pack for an area.

The wolf’s main diet consists of moose, deer, rabbits, caribou, bison, beaver and mice.

Once, these creatures roamed over most of  North America — except for arid desert and tropical forest regions.  Now, however, the Endangered Species Act protects the wolves in the US (except for Alaska, where they are not endangered).

In 47 of the 48 lower states, the wolves are endangered;  they are ‘threatened’ in Minnesota.

On the Other Hand

The federal government has reintroduced the gray wolves back into regions where they have been gone for generations.  This has not been met with joy in all areas. 

Not everyone is happy about the return of the gray wolf!

 Next Time:  The Story that Goes with this Photo!

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“Ridgetop Survey” is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

The second photo was sent (via email) by my husband, Richard

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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A Few More Words About Wolves

This is a continuation of my reminiscing about our big Siberian Husky, who lived with us for most of his 12 years.  We miss him still.

Part 1 is:   A Few Words About Siberian Huskies and Wolves

Who Can Forget the Lonely Howl of a Wolf?

Akula and Singing

Most evenings at dusk, our Husky Akula would start to sing.  He would howl with gusto!  The other dogs we had then joined in the singing, including our Chow, Wendy.

Wendy has carried on his habit.  Every evening about dark, she starts the schorus and our Lab and Bassett Hound chime in!

Akula has been dead for more than 5 years, and still they continue.  Neither the Lab nor the Bassett Hound ever met Akula, but they love to sing.

Wolves are Fascinating

Howling is part of a wolf’s pack behavior.  In spite of what humans belive, wolves do not howl at the moon.

To the wolf, their pack is everything.  A pack is a group of 8 to 15 wolves; usually they are an extended family.  There is the alpha male and alpha female, the pups and assorted subservient wolves.

Food is always an issue.  The alpha wolves are often assisted by the lower-level wolves to find enough to keep the pack fed.  Other lower-level wolves baby-sit the pups while the alphas are out hunting.

When a Wolf is Shunned

We often hear of the ‘lone wolf’.’  What is that?  It is a wolf that is shunned by its pack — perhaps for being a runt or one of the lower-level wolves who tries to take over the pack and survives (the fight).

This wolf can not join another pack but must create his own.  He may have to range more than 600 miles to find a mate and create his own pack.

While he is roaming, he is careful to circle around the marked territory of other packs.  If he doesn’t, they will kill him because he is not one of them.

When the Alpha Male Dies

Biologist Gordon Haber (of Alaska), compares the death of an alpha wolf to the death of a respected elder of a clan.

“Removing the depository of the group’s knowledge — for wolves the den-sites, trails, hunting strategies and interpack behavior — incapacitates the survivors.” *

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* Excerpt from Wolves, by Daniel Wood.  1994:  Whitecap Books, Vancouver, page 13.

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“Howling at the Moon” used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More than 1000 Rear Window Graphics in 27 Categories!

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments Off on A Few More Words About Wolves  
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A Few Words About Siberian Huskies & Wolves

Ever since our son brought home a Siberian Husky, I’ve been fascinated by wolves.  I think Huskies are (only) slightly more evolved wolves.

 

Siberian Huskies are Domesticated Wolves!

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We live in south Texas and one summer we had daily temperatures in the 100+.  Akula, our Husky, kept dropping weight and looked awful; I took the fateful step of moving him inside with us.

And our World Changed

Akula (Russian for ‘shark’) regained his lost weight and showed us what a ‘sociable’ dog can be.  He followed us into the bathroom … peeked at us from under the kitchen table … slept on his floor rug beside our bed.

After Akula died a few years ago (of old age – 12 years-old), he left a huge void in our lives.

My husband and I agreed it is unfair to bring a ‘cold-weather dog’ to such a hot climate.

When I get nostalgic about Akula, I take wolf and husky books out of the library.  I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve learned.

Facts About the Wolf

 

Wolf Howling at a Full Moon

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About 12,000 years ago, man domesticated some wolves.  They are the ancestors of  all our dog breeds today.

It’s rather hard to see any wolf in a Pomeranian dog but no problem at all when you are looking at a Siberian Husky.

Huskies still have the howling trait of their forefathers, while most dogs bark.

When the 17th century colonists arrived in America, wolves ranged over all of North America from Canada’s Arctic tundra to central Mexico.

The only areas wolves did not inhabit were:  the southeast corner of the US and coastal Mexico and California.

The only other mammal that has adapted to such a range of climates and terrains is man!

More tomorrow!

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‘Teamwork’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics.

‘Howling in the Snow’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice.

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More than 1000 Rear Window Graphics in 27 Categories!

Published in: on February 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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