Wolves
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"Silent Sentinels" by Rusty Frentner


Wolves

I dedicate this page to the Wolf , as I feel a kinship to the wolf, and one with its spirit.


Wolf Facts, Dispelling the Myths, Ending the Fears

The #1 Myth: Wolves are dangerous and they attack humans.

Fact: In the United States, there have been no documented cases where a healthy wild wolf attacked a human, in fact, it is very rare when a wolf even comes near a human.

  • Wolves are very social animals that depend on each other for food and protection.
  • Wolves travel in packs which can be as small as two wolves, or as big as twenty wolves.
  • A normal wolf pack can have a range of territory that spreads up to 60 miles, maybe even larger in certain locations.
  • The adult wolves in the pack share the responsibility of raising and caring for the pups.
  • Wolves are normally afraid of people, and try to avoid them when ever possible.
  • Adult wolves have the ability to regulate their body temperatures to adapt to changes in the weather. The puppies can not, so they must stay close to the warmth of their mothers.
  • A puppy can eat up to two pounds of food a day.
  • Wolves have no natural predators, except for humans.
  • Wolves howl to communicate with each other. They know each members howls and use them to locate each other, and they seem to just really enjoy howling.
  • In captivity wolves can live to be about 16 years of age, in the wild most do not make it to 8 years old. Although there has been a very small few that have lived to be 13 years old or even longer.
  • The size of a wolf liter is about 5 to 6 puppies.
  • Wolves do bark, but very seldom, and when they do it it's really quiet. They do not bark repeatedly like most dogs.
  • Small animals and birds are the common prey of wolves. They also occasionaly eat berries.
  • From past experiences wolves, are now leary of humans.
  • In extreme cold weather, wolves can restrict the flow of blood to the skin to conserve heat.
  • Out of every 24 hour period, wolves spend eight to ten hours on the move.
  • At full speed, wolves can run at close to 30 mph.
  • The role of the wolf in the wild is to cull out the sick or injured leaving only healthy strong animals to reproduce.

    Wolf Species

    The Gray Wolf, is the largest living member of the family Canidae, and the subspecies include the Artic Wolf (also known as the Winter Wolf), Timber Wolf, and the Tundra Wolf The largest individuals tend to be found in the northern forests of North America, with weights of 175 lb. having been recorded. A weight of 100-125 lb. is much more typical, however. Gray wolves from the hotter, drier parts of the world rarely exceed 50 lb.. In general, there is a wide size range among the various races, or "subspecies" of gray wolf. Their color also ranges vastly between the sub-species.

    The Arctic Wolf, Canis lupus arctos is an endangered, gray wolf subspecies found only on the arctic islands from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island. Typically, they are all white with a very thick coat, about 5-6 feet long, 4 feet tall, weighing from 60-100 pounds.

    Eastern Timber Wolves, Canis lupus lycaon, are found in southern Canada and the northeastern United States . This was the first subspecies to be recognized in the United States, and is on the endangered species listing. Born in a wide range of colors and sizes; usually there is a darker color on the top of the head, resembling an upside down crown.


    Alaska Tundra Wolf, Canis lupus tundrarum, is a large wolf with long light colored fur. It ranges along the tundra region of Alaska's arctic coast. While the Tundra Wolf , Canis lupus albus, can be found throughout the Eurasian tundra and forest tundra from Finland eastward to the Kamchaika Peninsula. It is large, long furred, light colored wolf much like its Northern American counterpart: Canis lupus tundrarum.

    The Red Wolf, Canis rufus, was virtually extinct in the wild. In a last ditch effort to stop the Red Wolf's total extinction, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) gathered up the remaining Red wolves. Fewer than 20 remained. These Red Wolves were successfully bred in captivity and their numbers increased steadily over the years. By 1987, enough animals had been bred to begin a program to reintroduce them back into their rightful place in the wild. This set an important precedent, being the first reintroduction in the United States of a species that was officially extinct in the wild. By all counts the red wolf reintroduction program has been a success.

    However, the red wolf is far from being out of danger. With such small numbers in the wild, the population is in constant danger of extinction from natural disasters such as disease. Additional lands are needed for wolf populations to grow. Today the Red Wolf population is at 300 captive animals in zoos and captive breeding facilities. Red wolves have been reintroduced at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

    The Red Wolf can have a red,gray, or black coat, with white markings. They are smaller than their cousin, the Gray Wolf, and weigh about 40-80 pounds. The females are usually smaller than the males. Red Wolves prefer white-tailed deer and racoons, but will eat any available small common prey animals. Red Wolves mate for life; adults mate between the months of February to March; 2-4 pups are born during April or May. The adult males and females help raise the pups. Around 6 months old is when the pups are mature enough to venture by themselves.



    Extinct Wolf Species

    The Dire Wolf, Canis dirus, roamed the earth 9,000 years ago. Remains of nearly 2000 dire wolves have been found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.



    The average size of the Dire Wolf was about 5 feet long, and weighing about 110 pounds. They looked a lot like the modern gray wolf, other then a few features their heads were much larger then the gray wolf, and they had much larger teeth. They also had much shorter but sturdier legs than the gray wolf. Many paleontologists believe that they used their massive teeth to crush bone, because of the amount of wear found on their crowns. The fact that they had shorter legs leads to the belief that they did not run as well as the modern gray wolf.


    Below is a listing of all the wolves we were not in time to save, they are lost forever. Let them be a reminder of how much the wolves that are still hanging on need our help. Human activity was the main reason for most of their extinctions.

  • Kenai Peninsula Wolf, Canis lupus alces, also known as the Alaskan Wolf. It was a very large wolf. The determination of the species and the size of the wolf was done using recovered bones.
  • New Foundland Wolf, Canis lupus beothucus, was a medium sized wolf that was almost pure white.
  • Mogollon Mountain Wolf, Canis lupus mogollonensis, used to live in central Arizona and New Mexico. Their color was usually dark with some whites.
  • Texas Gray Wolf, Canis lupus monstrabilis, used to live in Texas and northeastern Mexico. Its members were usually small and dark colored; there were some whites.
  • Great Plains Wolf, Canis lupus nubilus, also known as the Buffalo Wolf, once roamed the area from southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada, to northern Texas. This was a medium sized wolf with great variability in color.
  • Hokkaido Wolf, Canis lupus hattai, roamed the area of Hokkaido, Japan. It appears to be extinct.
  • Hondo Wolf, Canis lupus hodophilax, used to roam in Hondo, Japan.



  • The Cry

    (Author Unknown)

    He stands alone at the top of the hill
    And sings his mournful cry,
    His mate and cubs are missing
    He's not certain why.

    He had been out hunting
    Was gone for only a day,
    And hurried back with empty jaws
    So scarce now was their prey.

    He wasn't gone long
    Eager to get home,
    But the den was cold and empty
    And he sensed something was wrong.

    The smell of man was everywhere
    With footprints in the dirt,
    And blood shed from his family
    He knew they had been hurt.

    He sat and waited day by day
    With hopes they would return,
    There wasn't much he could do
    Except quietly sit and yearn.

    Why would man come all this way
    To hunt and shoot them down,
    To interrupt their quiet lives
    When no harm had been done?

    Their territory plainly marked
    And not once did they stray,
    For they would rather starve to death
    Than to get in man's way.

    The smell of chickens, cows and sheep
    Were so tempting at times,
    But instincts warned not to hunt them
    Or they would lose their lives.

    And so they lived a quiet life
    Existing on small game,
    Careful it was only wildlife
    And nothing man had tamed.

    So he could find no reason
    For the blood shed on that day,
    So peacefully they lived here
    So far out of man's way.

    Maybe they'd be coming back
    His cubbies and his mate,
    Wolves are mated once for life
    So he would sit and wait.

    That was many moons ago
    And they have not come back,
    But he will not stop hoping
    For the reunion of his pack.

    He now knows men are murderers
    But still does not know why,
    And every night he climbs his hill
    And sings his mournful cry.



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