“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be – the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourselves.” … Farley Mowatt
There is a deep-seeded, mis-guided and generationally perpetuated hatred of wolves in many parts of the world – as Farley Mowatt has so eloquently stated above. Long held religious and secular beliefs vilify wolves “He runs with wolves” – “our flocks are never safe from the wolves” – the dead resemble wolves” – “the were-wolves are outside the door” – to paraphrase a few.
Beliefs like this are not questioned by many people, and in some cases are acted upon, to the detriment of wolf populations around the world. Most countries do not protect wolves and they are faring poorly around the globe.
Most law makers don’t understand wolf society. There is a fine balance in nature and the wolf plays plays an important part in that balance. It’s easier to allow them to be shot, trapped and brutalized. I’m endlessly intrigued by mans’ propensity to blame animals for the dark side of his own brutal behaviour. In many countries the wolf is a political hot potato – and with no political will to protect them – they will continue to be decimated.
Wolf Society – in reading about wolves it is soon becomes apparent that a wolf’s life is not an easy one. They must roam and hunt every day – not always successfully. They live in a highly organized and disciplined pack. The Alpha rules – the Beta is second – followed by the Omega. Within a family the male sand females both have a hierarchy – but the Alpha male ultimately rules the pack.
There are usually 6-8 members in a pack. A female can have as many as 8 – 10 pups in a litter. She only breeds once a year and her pups emerge from the den at 4 weeks of age.
Wolves are not deliberate predators – they are hunting to survive like any other wild animal.
Attacks on humans are quite rare. Contrary to film myth where the poor, harmonica playing cowboy is mauled to death in front of his campfire. In fact, wolves, like most wild animals have a primal fear of fire.
Wolves do not relish fighting but will always defend their territory when attacked.
They can range over 100 miles in a day and run at speeds of 25 to 40 MPH.
They can run for up to twenty minutes at a time.
They communicate – by body posture, vocally, facially and by using scent markers.
Most attempts to raise a wolf pup as a pet are not successful. Their primal drive for the wild, freedom and a bonded pack is just too instinctive and strong.
Around the world there are as many as 40 species of wolves and they are mis-understood and reviled almost everywhere.