Archive for the ‘United States’ Tag

Wolf Puppies Are Adorable. Then Comes the Call of the Wild.   4 comments

October 13, 2017

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Scientists aren’t entirely sure how wolves evolved into dogs, but new research into the genetic and social behavior of wolf pups may offer some clues. By MAE RYAN, JAMES GORMAN and SHANE O’NEILL on Publish Date October 13, 2017. Photo by Renaud Philippe for The New York Times.  Watch in Times Video »

NICOLET, Quebec — I’m sitting in an outdoor pen with four puppies chewing my fingers, biting my hat and hair, peeing all over me in their excitement.

At eight weeks old, they are two feet from nose to tail and must weigh seven or eight pounds. They growl and snap over possession of a much-chewed piece of deer skin. They lick my face like I’m a long-lost friend, or a newfound toy. They are just like dogs, but not quite. They are wolves.

When they are full-grown at around 100 pounds, their jaws will be strong enough to crack moose bones. But because these wolves have been around humans since they were blind, deaf and unable to stand, they will still allow people to be near them, to do veterinary exams, to scratch them behind the ears — if all goes well.

Yet even the humans who raised them must take precautions. If one of the people who has bottle-fed and mothered the wolves practically since birth is injured or feels sick, she won’t enter their pen to prevent a predatory reaction. No one will run to make one of these wolves chase him for fun. No one will pretend to chase the wolf. Every experienced wolf caretaker will stay alert. Because if there’s one thing all wolf and dog specialists I’ve talked to over the years agree on, it is this: No matter how you raise a wolf, you can’t turn it into a dog.

As close as wolf and dog are — some scientists classify them as the same species — there are differences. Physically, wolves’ jaws are more powerful. They breed only once a year, not twice, as dogs do. And behaviorally, wolf handlers say, their predatory instincts are easily triggered compared to those of dogs. They are more independent and possessive of food or other items. Much research suggests they take more care of their young. And they never get close to that Labrador retriever “I-love-all-humans” level of friendliness. As much as popular dog trainers and pet food makers promote the inner wolf in our dogs, they are not the same.

The scientific consensus is that dogs evolved from some kind of extinct wolf 15,000 or more years ago. Most researchers now think that it wasn’t a case of snatching a pup from a den, but of some wolves spending more time around people to feed on the hunters’ leftovers. Gradually some of these wolves became less afraid of people, and they could get closer and eat more and have more puppies, which carried whatever DNA made the wolves less fearful. That repeated itself generation after generation until the wolves evolved to be, in non-scientific terms, friendly. Those were the first dogs.

People must spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for weeks on end with wolf puppies just to assure them that humans are tolerable. Dog puppies will quickly attach to any human within reach. Even street dogs that have had some contact with people at the right time may still be friendly.

Despite all the similarities, something is deeply different in dog genes, or in how and when those genes become active, and scientists are trying to determine exactly what it is.

Wolf pups at Wolf Park, a 65-acre zoo and research facility in Battle Ground, Ind., in July. Though wolves and dogs are extremely similar genetically, their behaviors are very different — and scientists seek to find out why.

There are clues.

Some recent research has suggested that dog friendliness may be the result of something similar to Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder in humans that causes hyper-sociability, among other symptoms. People with the syndrome seem friendly to everyone, without the usual limits.

Another idea being studied is whether a delay in development during a critical socializing period in a dog’s early life could make the difference. That delay might be discovered in the DNA, more likely in the sections that control when and how strongly genes become active, rather than in the genes themselves.

This is research at its very beginning, a long shot in some ways. But this past spring and summer, two scientists traveled to Quebec to monitor the development of six wolf pups, do behavior tests and take genetic samples. I followed them.

I visited other captive wolves as well, young and adult, to get a glimpse of how a research project begins — and, I confess, to get a chance to play with wolf puppies.

I wanted to have some firsthand experience of the animals I write about, to look wolves in the eye, so to speak. But only metaphorically. As I was emphatically told in a training session before going into an enclosure with adult wolves, the one thing you definitely do not do is look them in the eye.

From left, Kathryn Lord, Michele Koltookian and Diane Genereux, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, at the Zoo Académie, a combination zoo and training facility in Nicolet, Quebec

Wolf pups at play at Zoo Académie. Researchers wonder whether a delay in social development in a dog’s early life could explain the difference between wolves and dogs, and they’re looking to DNA for the answer.

Sleeping With Wolves

Zoo Académie is a combination zoo and training facility here on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River, about two hours from Montreal. Jacinthe Bouchard, the owner, has trained domestic and wild animals, including wolves, all over the world.

This past spring she bred two litters of wolf pups from two female wolves and one male she had already at the zoo. Both mothers gave birth in the same den around the same time at the beginning of June. Then unusually bad flooding of the St. Lawrence threatened the den, so Ms. Bouchard had to remove them at about seven days old instead of the usual two weeks.

Then began the arduous process of socializing the pups. Ms. Bouchard and her assistant stayed day and night with the animals for the first few weeks, gradually decreasing the time spent with them after that.

On June 30, Kathryn Lord and Elinor Karlsson showed up with several colleagues, including Diane Genereux, a research scientist in Dr. Karlsson’s lab who would do most of the hands-on genetics work.

Dr. Lord is part of Dr. Karlsson’s team, which splits time between the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and the Broad Institute in Cambridge. Their work combines behavior and genetic studies of wolf and dog pups.

An evolutionary biologist, Dr. Lord is an old hand at wolf mothering. She has hand-raised five litters.

“You have to be with them 24/7. That means sleeping with them, feeding them every four hours on the bottle, ” Dr. Lord said.

Also, as Ms. Bouchard noted, “we don’t shower” in the early days, to let the pups get a clear sense of who they are smelling.

Dr. Genereux, right, and Ms. Koltookian at the Zoo Académie.

Dr. Genereux, right, and Ms. Koltookian with the wolf pups. The researchers say the odds of being able to pin down genetically the critical shift from helplessness in infancy to being able to explore the world around them are long, but still worth pursuing.

That’s very important, because both wolves and dogs go through a critical period as puppies when they explore the world and learn who their friends and family are.

With wolves, that time is thought to start at about two weeks, when the wolves are deaf and blind. Scent is everything.

In dogs, it starts at about four weeks, when they can see, smell and hear. Dr. Lord thinks this shift in development, allowing dogs to use all their senses, might be key to their greater ability to connect with human beings.

Perhaps with more senses in action, they are more able to generalize from tolerating individual humans with a specific scent to tolerating humans in general with a scent, sight and sound profile.

When the critical period ends, wolves, and to a lesser extent dogs, experience something like the onset of stranger anxiety in human babies, when people outside of the family suddenly become scary.

The odds of being able to pin down genetically the shift in this crucial stage are still long, but both Dr. Lord and Dr. Karlsson think the idea is worth pursuing, as did the Broad Institute. It provided a small grant from a program designed to support scientists who take leaps into the unknown — what you might call what-if research.

There are two questions the scientists want to explore. One, said Dr. Karlsson: ”How did a wolf that was living in the forest become a dog that was living in our homes?”

The other is whether fear and sociability in dogs are related to the same emotions and behaviors in humans. If so, learning about dogs could provide insights into some human conditions in which social interaction is affected, like autism, or Williams syndrome, or schizophrenia.

The pups at Zoo Académie were only three weeks old when the group of researchers arrived. I showed up the next morning and walked into a room strewn with mattresses, researchers and puppies.

The humans were still groggy from a night with little sleep. Pups at that age wake up every few hours to whine and paw any warm body within reach.

Wolf mothers prompt their pups to urinate and defecate by licking their abdomens. The human handlers massaged the pups for the same reason, but often the urination was unpredictable, so the main subject of conversation when I arrived was wolf pup pee. How much, on whom, from which puppy.

As soon as I walked in, I was handed a puppy to cradle and bottle-feed. The puppy was like a furry larva, persistent, single-minded, with an absolute intensity of purpose.

Even with fur, teeth and claws, the pups were still hungry and helpless, and I couldn’t help but remember holding my own children when they took a bottle. I suspect that tiger kittens and the young of wolverines are equally irresistible. It’s a mammal thing.

A wolf pup, inside a pen, observing a borzoi outside at the Zoo Académie. The critical exploratory phase for wolves is thought to start at about two weeks, when wolf pups are still deaf and blind — scent is their primary sense. With dogs, that period begins at about four weeks, when they can see, smell and hear.

The first part of Dr. Lord’s testing was to confirm her observations that the critical period for wolves starts and ends earlier than that for dogs.

She set up a procedure for testing the pups by exposing them to something they could not possibly have encountered before — a jiggly buzzing contraption of bird-scare rods, a tripod and a baby’s mobile.

Each week she tested one pup, so that no pup got used to it. She would put the puppy in a small arena, with low barriers for walls and with the mobile turned on. She would hide, to avoid distracting the puppy. Video cameras recorded the action, showing how the pups stumbled and later walked around the strange object, or shied away from it, or went right up to sniff it.

At three weeks, the pups had been barely able to get around and were still sleeping almost every minute they weren’t nursing. By eight weeks, when I returned to have them gambol all over me, they were rambunctious and fully capable of exploration.

The researchers won’t publicize the results until observers who never saw the puppies view and analyze the videos. But Dr. Lord said that wolf experts considered eight-week-old wolf puppies past the critical period. They were so friendly to me and others because they had been successfully socialized already.

Before and after the test, she collected urine, to measure levels of a hormone called cortisol, which rises during times of stress. If the pup in the video would not approach the jiggly monster and cortisol levels were high, that would indicate that the pup had begun to experience a level of fear of new things that could stop exploration. That would confirm the timing of the critical period.

Dr. Lord letting an eight-week-old wolf pup investigate the jiggly monster testing contraption she devised.

She and Dr. Karlsson and others from the lab also collected saliva for DNA testing. They planned to use a new technique called ATAC-seq that uses an enzyme to mark active genes. Then when the wolf DNA is fed into one of the advanced machines that map genomes, only the active genes would be on the map.

Dr. Genereux, who was isolating and then reading DNA, said she thought it was “a long shot” that they would find what they wanted. She and the other researchers plan to refine their techniques to ask the questions successfully.

When They Grow Up

And what are socialized wolves like when they grow up, once the mysterious genetic machinery of the dog and wolf direct them on their separate ways?

I also visited Wolf Park, in Battle Ground, Ind., a 65-acre zoo and research facility where Dana Drenzek, the manager, and Pat Goodmann, the senior animal curator, took me around and introduced me not only to puppies they were socializing, but to some adult wolves.

Timber, a mother of some of the pups at Wolf Park in Indiana.

In the 1970s, Ms. Goodmann worked with Erich Klinghammer, the founder of Wolf Park, to develop the 24/7 model for socializing wolf puppies, exposing them to humans and then also to other wolves, so they could relate to their own kind but accept the presence and attention of humans, even intrusive ones like veterinarians.

The sprawling outdoor baby pen was filled with cots and hammocks for the volunteers, since the wolves were now nine and 11 weeks old and living outdoors all the time. There were plastic and plywood hiding places for the wolves and plenty of toys. It looked like a toddlers’ playground, except for the remnants of their meals — the odd deer clavicle or shin bone, and other assorted ribs, legs and shoulder bones, sometimes with skin and meat still attached.

The puppies were extremely friendly with the volunteers they knew and mildly friendly with me. The adult wolves I met were also courteous, but remote. Two older males, Wotan and Wolfgang, each licked me once and walked away. Timber, the mother of some of the pups, and tiny at 50 pounds, also investigated me and then retired to a platform nearby.

Only Renki, an older wolf who had suffered from bone cancer and now got around on three legs, let me scratch his head for a while. None was bothered by my presence. None was more than mildly interested. None seemed to realize or care about my own intense desire to see the wolves, be near them, learn about them, touch them.

Pat Goodmann, the senior animal curator at Wolf Park.

A mobile of animal bones hangs over the nursery where pups at Wolf Park live until aged 5-6 weeks.

I saw how powerfully a visit with wolves could affect how you feel about the animals. I wanted to come back and help raise pups, and keep visiting so that I could say an adult wolf knew me in some way.

But I also wondered whether it was right to keep wolves in this setting. In the wild, they travel large distances and kill their food. These wolves were all bred in captivity and that was never a possibility for them.

But was I simply indulging a fantasy of getting close to nature? Was this in the same category as wanting a selfie with a captive tiger? What was best for the wolves themselves?

I asked Ms. Goodmann about it. She said that park operated on the idea that getting to know the park’s wolves, which had never been deprived of an earlier life in the wild, would make visitors care more for wild wolves, for conservation, for preserving a life for wild carnivores that they could never be part of.

And she noted that Wolf Park operates as a combination zoo and research station. Students and others from around the world compete to work as interns, helping with everything from raising puppies to emptying the fly traps.

This is the rationale for all zoos, and it was a strong argument. Then she made it stronger. She pointed out that one of the interns, Doug Smith, worked on the reintroduction of wild wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

Dana Drenzek, manager of Wolf Park, with a pup.

Haley Gorenflo, a volunteer at Wolf Park, howling with adolescent wolves.

Dr. Smith has had a major role in the Wolf Restoration Project from the very beginning in 1995 and has been project leader since 1997. I reached him one morning at his office at park headquarters and asked him about his time as an intern at Wolf Park.

“I hand-reared four wolf pups, sleeping with them on a mattress for six weeks,” he said. “It had a profound effect. It was the first wolf job I ever got in my life. It turned into my career.”

From there he went on to study wild wolves on Isle Royale in Michigan, and then to work with L. David Mech, a pioneering wolf biologist who is a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota. Eventually, he went to Yellowstone to work on restoring wolves to the park.

He said ethical questions about keeping wild animals in captivity are difficult, even when every effort is made to enrich their lives. But places like Wolf Park provide great value, he said, if they can get people “to think about the plight of wolves across the world, and do something about it.”

In today’s environment, “with conservation on the run, nature on the run, you need them,” he added.

Then he said what all wolf specialists say: That even though wolf pups look like dogs, they are not, that keeping a wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid as a pet is a terrible idea.

“If you want a wolf,” he said, “get a dog.”

Dozing at Zoo Académie in Quebec.

 

WOLVES   2 comments

October 29, 2010 by Australian reporter Kirsty Bennett

VIDEOLINK – FOUND ON ORIGINAL ARTICLE http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s3045575.htm#  (not able to embed video)

From feature films to fairy tales wolves haven’t got the best reputation.

And they’re not too popular with farmers in some parts of the US either.

For years the wolves were hunted and killed but now they’re protected.

Kirsty checked out why that’s got some farmers pretty angry.

KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: Wolves get a pretty bad rap. They’re either a scary superhero like Wolverine or appear as an evil werewolf character in the movies. In Australia, this is the closest we get to seeing wolves. But over in the US and Canada, these animals have roamed in the wild for a long time.

This is one place wolves can call home. It’s the Wild West in America – a state called Idaho. Thousands of Gray Wolves used to hang around here but by the 1930s most of them were killed by hunters. Almost 70 years later, packs of wolves from Canada were brought back to the area to rebuild the population. Now, around sixteen hundred wolves live here and in two of the neighbouring states. They can’t be hunted either because they’re a protected species. And that doesn’t please some of the locals, who don’t think they belong.

Ron’s family has lived on this range for more than a hundred years. His feeling towards wolves is pretty obvious, he doesn’t like them.

RON GILLETTE: What are these wolves going to eat? We’re in a wildlife disaster right now they’re killing near everything. What are they going to do eat our livestock and then start eating humans?

KIRSTY: Ron would normally be out hunting wolves by now. But the US Federal Court has put the animals back on the protected list, so they can’t be touched for the time being. It’s a frustrating situation for farmers like Luke too. He’s had to lock up his dogs and cattle behind huge fences to protect them.

LUKE MORGAN, RANCHER: Now we spend a lot of nights and days worrying about how many livestock is actually getting killed by them. It’ll put a lot of ranchers out of business, which is hard on the whole economic deal.

KIRSTY: So for some, wolves are public enemy number one. But for others, they’re great mates!

NANCY TAYLOR, “WOLF PEOPLE”: Give mummy a kiss. Give mummy kisses. Good boy!

KIRSTY: Nancy has been breeding wolves in captivity for about seventeen years. And she reckons their bad reputation is unfair.

NANCY TAYLOR: They make him out to be a monster, a snarling evil creature which he isn’t.

KIRSTY: Here, wolves look pretty similar to your pet dog. And they’re not really much different. Many scientists reckon that domestic dogs evolved from wolves. Over tens of thousands of years people have used selective breeding to get dogs for their own use.

So if that’s the case, all dogs, including this little fur-ball are pretty close relatives! Hundreds of years ago, before white people moved in, Idaho was also home to the Nez Perce Indians who feel a strong connection to the wolf. Tribal leaders are joining the battle to protect the animal.

This bloke reckons you can’t sacrifice a species just because it’s convenient. For the time being it sounds like the wolves are a bit safer than they have been in any fairytale.

COMMENTS (57)

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  • SIX EM RODICK :

    24 Nov 2010 5:46:49pm

    as Dan said, but HIGHER fences


  • SWIFTCLAWS :

    24 Nov 2010 10:01:38am

    I seriously hate the way wolves are treated in fairy tales, they have a right to live in this world.


  • DAN :

    17 Nov 2010 1:28:50pm

    Just put up fences! Simple!

    I like wolves and I think they should continue to be protected.


  • SHAMISE :

    11 Nov 2010 10:56:50am

    Wolves are awesome like dogs they dont do anything to cattle.


  • TOP RIDER :

    11 Nov 2010 10:54:57am

    I reckon that wolves shouldn’t be hunted they have a right to live on the world


  • PITTYGIRL :

    11 Nov 2010 10:54:41am

    I think wolves do nothing to hurt livestock as long as they make secure fences


  • BOB :

    11 Nov 2010 10:53:38am

    I think that wolves should be kill because they are killing the sheep and cattle


  • MR PUFFY :

    11 Nov 2010 10:44:28am

    I think that wolves should be protected so at least one animal doesn’t get extinct


  • PLUTO :

    11 Nov 2010 10:43:00am

    I love wolves
    They should stay in America and be protected. Farmers shouldn’t shoot them.
    Wolves are wicked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • CALLUM AND DANIEL :

    11 Nov 2010 10:38:30am

    We both think that Wolves should be killed and be protected


  • THE FANTASTIC CABBAGE :

    11 Nov 2010 10:36:26am

    The wolves should stay because the Nev Perce Indians feel a strong connection to them and they were they before the white yanks


  • LARICK97 :

    09 Nov 2010 10:50:19am

    I think they should be protected creatures because they were on land before the white people


  • EBONY03 :

    09 Nov 2010 10:50:03am

    I think the wolves should be on the protected list because it was their land first .


  • PETER GRIFFEN :

    09 Nov 2010 10:48:03am

    I think wolves should be controlled not kill them but just stop them breeding as fast but i dont think they should be killed as long as they don’t hassel the farmers to much.


  • NED :

    09 Nov 2010 10:45:54am

    I think that wolves shouldn’t be able to roam free. People should fence a big bushland area off and put them all in there. Shooting wolves should not be aloud because it is cruel.


  • KAVISH1100 :

    08 Nov 2010 4:49:31pm

    I like wolves because they are not that dangerous if you want to pet them but if you try to harm them, they will attack back.


  • JESSIE MACNEY :

    02 Nov 2010 6:39:03pm

    I absolutely agree with all wolf supporters! Wolves should definately have the rights to not be hunted! Imagine if you were a wolf and you got hunted because you were a pest to some silly old farmer. Now that is just plain unfair!!!WOLVES MUST NOT BE HUNTED!!!!


  • I LOVE ANIMALS :

    02 Nov 2010 5:57:53pm

    Wolves are amazing creatures they don’t deserve to be killed to save livestock.


  • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

    02 Nov 2010 5:19:47pm

    I thnk that it was a very touching story…. *Sniff* SAVE THE WOLVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • THALIA :

    02 Nov 2010 4:16:34pm

    I think wolves should roam free. They can just eat the sick livestock so that the farmers don’t need to spend mutch money on curing them…


  • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

    02 Nov 2010 3:55:22pm

    I love wolves!!! DO NOT KILL WOLVES!!!


  • ANIMALS :

    01 Nov 2010 11:51:53pm

    I really think every single wildlife including wolves should be let free from captivity and I think every animal has the right to have freedom and to roam around the place. They can be free to survive and no one is allowed to hurt them. They are really rare now because harmful hunters killed them which is really bad so START SAVING WOLVES AND WILDLIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • MEG ,12 :

    01 Nov 2010 9:37:43pm

    Wolves are native animals to the area, it could ruin eco systems to take them away.

    P.S. Wolverine was named after the animal wolverine not the wolf


  • YOONGY :

    01 Nov 2010 7:29:29pm

    I reckon wolves should be around, have u farmers thought about how much u did to those animals and wolves just to plant trees?! And ITS LIFE part of the food chain – cant they eat wat we grow as well i mean we eat them?


  • LUV 4 WOLVES :

    01 Nov 2010 7:06:15pm

    These people should be more sensitive. In the end, the wolves, as said, are just dogs. Do we kill dogs because they eat some cattle? No! (well, not domestic dogs) Wolves are wonderful animals. To harm or kill them is absolutely downright horrid and is a horrible crime. Save the wolves! Save the wolves!

    *This comment was from a 10-20 yr old girl who has a great heart for wolves*


  • CHRISY101 :

    01 Nov 2010 6:56:21pm

    Wolves are just like dogs but not as well trained.


  • IZZY :

    01 Nov 2010 6:55:19pm

    Like totally wolves are soo scary!


    • YYYYYYYYYJ :

      05 Nov 2010 8:55:14pm

      I agree!


  • 2-3B AND 2K :

    01 Nov 2010 10:34:01am

    Wolves and Dogs are related to eachother.
    We find this very interesting.
    What do you think.


    • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

      02 Nov 2010 5:23:59pm

      Wolves ARE dogs!!!


  • GINNY :

    31 Oct 2010 8:41:17pm

    C’mon! Wolves kill livestock! It costs a lot of money and the poor farmers!


  • ADALITA :

    28 Oct 2010 8:00:06pm

    I think that it is good that they are re-breeding the wolves because it is their natural habitat. There should be no discrimination against the wolves because they would think ‘We were here before them why should we get discriminated?’
    I think it is good the way the lady cares about the wolves and how they are supposed to live.


  • SOUNDHOUND :

    28 Oct 2010 6:38:37pm

    I think wolves are great animals and should not be hunted


  • PHILLIP AND MR. CHICKEN :

    28 Oct 2010 3:09:36pm

    I like wolves and I think people should stop killing them coz there are only 116 left and they r the bomb


  • BULLBUG :

    28 Oct 2010 3:08:46pm

    I think that we should look after the wolves. Because wolves are the best.


  • BLABLABLA6671 :

    27 Oct 2010 5:59:19pm

    It’s so cruel people want to kill an animal. there so FLUFFY!!!!!!!


    • CZCVZMNVMN :

      01 Nov 2010 8:49:41pm

      They shouldn’t kill wolves because they take too much space wolves are something like dogs that round up cattle and i do agree that they’re FLUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • GREEN_MUNKI :

    27 Oct 2010 5:57:55pm

    Yeah, I have a friend who loves wolves and I didn’t really know what she was on about before i watched this BTN story. Now i look at them and think ‘Wow, who would ever be cruel enough to want to kill this amazing creature just for fun.’ Seriously, though wolves are AWSOME!


  • LUKE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:44:18pm

    The werewolf looks weird


  • RONNIE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:37:55pm

    I think anybody who thinks they should go is mean. They have a right and anyway, they’re too fluffy to die!!


  • CHARLIE HIGHGATE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:22:37pm

    I think wolves should be let free out of captivity and not be able to get hunted down.


  • KATE :

    27 Oct 2010 1:06:41pm

    I think the wolves shouldnt be killed because the farmers livestock are being killed. I also think the farmers should be given a fence where wolves shouldnt be able to come in


  • BELLABANJO :

    27 Oct 2010 10:38:59am

    I don’t know why people would want to shoot an adorable little animal because of crops. if you were the animal that needed something to eat wouldn’t you go to farms as well??? think about it…


  • NATALIE :

    26 Oct 2010 9:09:50pm

    white wolves are so adorable and cute they look like huskies


    • LOL :

      05 Nov 2010 8:59:56pm

      the white wolf was so cuteeeee!!
      I want one!


  • BRIDGET W.P.S. :

    26 Oct 2010 6:28:20pm

    I am glad that the wolves are protected and hope they will STAY protected.


    • MIKE :

      28 Oct 2010 8:35:56pm

      I am also glad but they don’t need to stay protected for more then 6 months people need hunting for meat


  • LOL :

    26 Oct 2010 6:27:47pm

    I think that the farmers shouldnt be hunting the wolves because they are soo CUTE and other stuff.
    I LOVE WOLVES


  • MIKE P :

    26 Oct 2010 6:08:15pm

    They are so cute, I love Wolves


  • LOOPY LU :

    26 Oct 2010 5:25:58pm

    Just because wolves are being wolves (as they should) does not mean they should die. Farmers just need to make an effort to put high fencing on their land. These beautiful animals cannot be killed- that is just cruel.


  • SOPHIE :

    26 Oct 2010 4:19:06pm

    I think that wolves should be protected by law because they are animals and they have their rights as well as us. If farmers livestock are killed well than that’s their fault for not locking them up. Anyone else agree?


  • SHANNY :

    26 Oct 2010 10:57:22am

    I love wolves too


    • WOLVES 88 :

      26 Oct 2010 4:08:12pm

      I know. they are so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Just like cats!


    • AUDY :

      27 Oct 2010 8:23:57pm

      I SO AGREE WTTH U


      • BLABLABLA :

        28 Oct 2010 6:37:14pm

        WOLVES HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ALIVE!! IF WE KILLL OFF ALL WOLVES THEN THE FOOD CHAIN WILL GO OUT OF WACK!!!


      • WOLVES333 :

        31 Oct 2010 8:24:46am

        same here


      • MYNANEISEMILYIRULESOMUCH :

        03 Nov 2010 7:13:24pm

        =] wolves + chiwawas.related.weird.[=
        o.m.g wolves are soooo cute and….
        FLUFFY!

        yay got quiz right me cool.

        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I happened  to come across this old Australian article regarding wolves and I found it quite interesting! Especially the comments. To think this was written only 6 years ago! Times have changed, reached rock bottom only to start climbing slowly again. What pleases me most regarding this article and it’s comments is that the majority is pro-wolf! I’d appreciate my reader’s input through comments.

Thanks in advance!


Source

Winter is coming: A time when wolf packs battle for the Yellowstone throne   1 comment

Source  Eartharchives.org

November 16, 2015

Territorial species, like gray wolves living in Yellowstone National Park, will often fight if they encounter a neighboring group. Observational research over the course of 20 years has allowed scientists in Yellowstone to examine the roles of each individual in a wolf pack during these fights over territory and resources. They have discovered that old wolves are the most important in pack versus pack fights as the experience and leadership provided by an old wolf often allows a pack to win even if they are outnumbered.

River Valley Pack, 

“All the wolves trotted to the stranger and practically surrounded it, and for a few moments I thought that they would be friendly toward it for there was just the suggestion of tail wagging by some of them. But something tipped the scales the other way for the wolves began to bite at the stranger. It rolled over on its back, begging quarter. The attack continued, however, so it scrambled to its feet and with difficulty emerged from the snapping wolves. Twice it was knocked over as it ran down the slope with five wolves in hot pursuit. They chased after it about 200 yards to the river bar, and the mantled male crossed the bar after it. The two ran out of my sight under the ridge from which I was watching.”

– Murie, Adolph. 1944. The Wolves of Mount McKinley. University of Washington Press.

It was 1940 and Adolph Murie was hired to record data on wolves and Dall sheep in Denali National Park (then called Mount McKinley). Murie followed one pack closely for several years, watching them raise pups, hunt prey, and even chase and attack intruding wolves. His field notes may have been the first time in history these territorial, aggressive accounts were written down. I like to imagine this consummate observer and naturalist would be happy to hear the work he began nearly 80 years ago has continued with the return of the wolf to Yellowstone National Park.

 

Since the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone 20 years ago scientists have been gathering data on survival and reproduction, mortality and hunting. But one thing biologists didn’t really expect when wolves were brought back to Yellowstone following a 70-year absence was their consistent visibility. Wide open valleys with abundant elk and plowed roads, combined with a decent scope or pair of binoculars, now provides visitors and scientists views of wolf behavior rarely seen elsewhere.

Biologists have long known wolves are territorial and have noted the difference between the amiable way wolves treat pack mates, usually their close family members, and the aggression they show neighboring, rival packs. When a wolf was found dead researchers pieced together clues from tracks, often concluding that a pack-vs-pack fight had occurred. In Yellowstone those interactions have been observed and recorded for two decades and play a decidedly influential role in the lives of gray wolves, accounting for two-thirds of natural mortality.

Besides the effects these territorial fights have on individual survival, they likely have long-term effects on reproduction, pack persistence, and the redistribution of resources based on which packs are able to consistently defeat their opponents. But what allows one pack to win over a rival? Is it just a numbers game with larger packs always winning out over smaller ones? Do resident packs enjoy a home field advantage? Or is there some compositional factor? Are packs with more of a certain type of wolf, say a large male wolf in his prime, more likely to win? Observational research, like Murie’s, was the only way to find out.

It was 10 a.m. but the mid-morning sun was just barely cresting the eastern ridge. I’d been alternately huddling for warmth in my layers of down and stomping around the small dirt trailhead trying to keep feeling in my toes for over two hours. Watching as the western slopes lit and warmed, I beheld nature’s visual timepiece, anticipating the blanket of sunlight edging temperatures into positive degrees.

I was tracking the Slough Creek wolf pack by listening for pings on the radio receiver, indicating one of the collared wolves was nearby. Finally I saw them travelling up out of the Yellowstone River corridor, their thick winter coats shedding river ice, keeping them a lot warmer than me and definitely not worrying themselves over the speed of the sunrise that morning.

The seven figures followed in each other’s footsteps, noses to the ground. They gathered around one area, and judging by their quickly rising tails and hackles, it was the fresh scent of rival wolves. The alpha male took off running to the north, the five pack females and a yearling male following quickly. Intrigued by the wolves’ behavior, I tuned the receiver to test the signals for other packs. Sure enough, loud beeps from a Druid Peak pack wolf rang out—they must be close by, too. I looked back in the scope and watched the Slough Creek pack running hard now, the dark black alpha male in the lead. Scanning ahead of them about 400 meters I saw five members of the Druid Peak pack. They glanced at each other and began their own charge, tails like flags, straight at their opponents.

The distance closed rapidly and all of a sudden it was chaos. The Slough alpha male slammed his body into a Druid wolf but when another grabbed his neck and shook violently he broke loose and ran out of the fray. The Slough females followed the male’s wake but finding themselves in the midsts of four huge male Druid wolves, tucked tails and ran. Two of the Sloughs turned around and hopped briefly onto their hind legs, trying to figure out who was a pack mate and who was not. The Druid wolves stayed in a solitary unit, chasing and spreading out the Slough wolves for several minutes, keeping them from joining together. As the commotion died down, the Slough wolves started to bark-howl from all angles. They were lost and separated, not sure where to go for fear of running into the Druids again. Eventually the tension dissipated and the Druids relaxed. The Sloughs wandered in several small groups, separated by miles of mountainside.

Even though the Sloughs outnumbered the Druids, they had lost; completely displaced from the fight location—firmly in Slough Creek pack territory. And as it turned out, this encounter would be the prime example of what characteristics are important to a pack during successful inter-pack interactions.

The first important factor, the only one in the Slough’s favor, was pack size. Having one more wolf than an opponent increases a pack’s odds of winning by 140%. Numerical assessment studies have found this same pattern in many social species from chimpanzees to African lions to mongooses. But for wolves, pack composition is also important. A pack with one more adult male enjoys a 65% increase in win odds. Adult male wolves are 20% larger and more muscular than females; they are built for fighting and protecting territory and resources. The Druids had the advantage here with two adult males more than the Sloughs (4 to 2). A home-field advantage doesn’t exist for wolves. Even intruders can compete with residents if they have the numbers or those valuable individuals present.

But the most influential factor was the presence of old wolves (>6 years old). A pack with one old wolf more than an opponent had 150% greater odds of winning—making it more important than pack size. As the Druids exemplified (they had one more old adult than the Sloughs), they won despite being outnumbered. Old adults are nowhere near the fastest or the strongest but what they do have is experience. They’ve encountered competitors many times. They’ve seen pack mates killed, and likely participated in killing a rival themselves. They may avoid a conflict they figure they can’t win—upping their success percentage. Leadership and experience make old wolves the most valuable individuals in the pack during aggressive encounters.

These pack vs pack battles have gone on for thousands of years, contributing to the evolution of territoriality, aggression, and sociality in gray wolves. There have surely been occasional human witnesses to these episodes of truly wild nature: Homo sapiens during the Pleistocene, Lewis and Clark on the Corps of Discovery, and, of course, biologist Adolph Murie in 1940s Alaska. And now, in Yellowstone, we can all observe this instinctive yet advanced behavior exhibited by a complex, social species—a  species with intelligence and a division of labor amongst group members, the goal to protect themselves, their resources, and each other.

———–

 

 

Groups want hunting season suspended for rare wolves   Leave a comment

From JuneauEmpire on July 23, 2015 by Dan Joling

ANCHORAGE — Six conservation organizations want to stop hunting and trapping of a rare southeast Alaska wolf while the federal government decides whether the animals merit endangered species status.

The groups asked Fish and Game Department Commissioner Sam Cotton on Thursday to preemptively close hunting and trapping seasons for Alexander Archipelago wolves, a southeast Alaska species that den in the root systems of large trees.

They also asked the Federal Subsistence Board to close subsistence hunting and trapping, and the U.S. Forest Service to suspend logging and road-building for the Big Thorne timber sale on Prince of Wales Island, which will include old-growth forest.

Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list the wolves as endangered in August 2011. The estimated population in the mid-1990s was 250 to 350 animals. The estimated wolf population last fall was 89, the groups said, with no more than 159 and perhaps as few as 50 animals, according to the groups.

That estimate was made before 29 wolves were legally harvested by hunters and trappers during the 2014-2015 hunting and trapping seasons.

“Alexander Archipelago wolves are one-of-a-kind, and once they’re gone, they’re not coming back,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “We have to protect the few remaining wolves on Prince of Wales Island right now, or they’ll be gone.”

Alexander Archipelago wolves feed on Sitka black-tailed deer. The listing petition said large-scale logging fragments forests and reduces carrying capacity for deer.

After a lawsuit last year claiming inaction by federal regulators, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed in September to decide by late 2015 whether the wolves warrant endangered species protection.

Bruce Dale, state director of wildlife conservation, was not immediately available for comment.

The groups seeking the hunting and trapping suspensions include Cascadia Wildlands, Greenpeace, Center for Biological Diversity, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, The Boat Co., and Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

Picnic With Wolves II (A Picnic With a Purpose)   Leave a comment

From BE Orlando on July 2, 2015

picnicwithwolves

Save the date for a picnic lunch on Saturday, December 5th. Why?  Because you need a wolf kiss.

Family-friendly pot luck social picnic for volunteers, supporters, and friends of the private facility wolf & wolfdog sanctuary.  A guided tour will be provided.

Event hosted by BE. Orlando; members, friends, and families of all groups in our Central Florida Coalition of Reason, Florida Humanist Association, and other secular communities network are welcome (with RSVP on this site).

This event is free to attend, family friendly, and smoke free.

A Picnic With a Purpose! 100% of proceeds through voluntary donations will support IHWN.

RSVP with BE:

Picnic With Wolves

Saturday, Dec 5, 2015, 11:30 AM

7 Awesome People Attending

Check out this Meetup —- >>


LINKS

RED WOLF population in decline once again ~ Woman in NEW MEXICO dies of PLAGUE ~ SQUIRREL in COLORADO tests positive for PLAGUE ~ CANADIAN woman victim of BEAR attack ~ MUSKRAT in COLORADO tests positive for TULAREMIA ~ TULAREMIA found in four NORTH DAKOTA counties.   Leave a comment

From Natural Unseen Hazards Blog on July 28, 2015

Red Wolf and pups. Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Red Wolf and pups. Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Southeast US 07/25/15 wral.com: by Emery P. Dalesio – A revised population estimate puts the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves at their lowest level since the late 1990s amid recent moves to protect the bigger, predatory relatives of dogs from hunters’ misdirected bullets. Once common in the Southeast, the red wolf had been considered extinct in the wild as of 1980 for reasons including hunting and lost habitat. In 1987, wildlife officials released captive-bred red wolves into the wilds of a federal tract in North Carolina. For years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that about 100 wolves roamed the land in coastal Dare, Hyde, Washington, Tyrrell and Beaufortcounties and also drifted onto neighboring private property. Now the federal agency has drastically cut its population estimate to between 50 and 75 wild red wolves. The revision was the result of fewer breeding adult wolves producing fewer babies to replace those animals that die, FWS supervisory wildlife biologist Rebecca Harrison said. “The decrease is a reflection of two years in a row of very low pup production in combination with the standing mortality,” Harrison said. While in the past wildlife officials have found 30 to 50 pups a year, last year 19 were found and this year only seven, Harrison said. The wolves breed a single litter of pups annually that are born in the spring.

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An outside study last year of the red wolf recovery program by the nonprofit Wildlife Management Institute said it couldn’t determine the specific reasons for the red wolf decline. Over the past decade, there was a tripling of wolf deaths from gunshots, the report said. Illegal killings of red wolves was the leading cause of deaths over the first 25 years of the program, the report said, with shootings and poisonings making up 30 percent of their deaths. Most of the red wolf shooting deaths of breeding-aged red wolves happened during the last three months of the year just before the animals breed, the report said. Deer season also increases hunters in the forests in the fall. The threats to red wolves from gunfire have increased as coyotes — which are often confused for their bigger, endangered cousins — multiplied across the state into the red wolf’s range. North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission in 2013 decided to allow coyote hunting at night on private land and under certain circumstances on public land. Conservationists said that resulted in the shooting deaths of red wolves since even experts often couldn’t distinguish them from coyotes in a distant flashlight’s glare. –  Read more at http://www.wral.com/wild-red-wolf-count-falls-as-fewer-parents-making-fewer-pups/14794393/#LKVu6mCc32VcrhaU.99

PNEUMONIC PLAGUE:

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New Mexico 07/24/15 santafenewmexican.com: by Anne Constable – State Health Department officials said Friday that a 52-year-old Santa Fe County woman died after testing positive forplague, and workers were going door to door in her neighborhood to inform other residents of the risk. But the Health Department would not release the name of the hospital where the woman was treated or the section of the county where she lived. The state’s Scientific Laboratory Division is conducting a test to confirm the woman’s suspected case of pneumonic plague, the rarest of the three forms of the bacterial disease, which is usually contracted from flea bites or rodent droppings. If the lab test proves positive, this would be the first human case of plague in New Mexico this year. Last year, there were two human cases of plague in New Mexico, and both patients — a 43-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County and a 57-year-old man from Torrance County — recovered. Between 2010 and 2014, there were nine cases in the state, three of them in Santa Fe County. Santa Fe leads the counties in New Mexico for human plague, with 59 out of 271 cases across the state from 1949 to 2014. – For complete article seehttp://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/health_and_science/health-officials-santa-fe-county-woman-s-death-could-be/article_1bc73a49-0570-577f-8710-0e1fd23e5944.html

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Colorado 07/25/15 kdvr.com: by Chris Jose –Jefferson County Public Health received confirmation on Friday that a squirrel located at 15th and Jackson (in Golden) tested positive for bubonic plague. Postings are being placed around the area today with information reminding citizens to take simple precautions to avoid exposure. Plague is a highly infectious bacterial disease carried by various types of wild rodents and is transmitted primarily by flea bites. Squirrels, rodents, prairie dogs and other mammals, such as rabbits and cats are susceptible to plague because they carry fleas. – For video and complete article seehttp://kdvr.com/2015/07/25/squirrel-in-golden-tests-positive-for-bubonic-plague/

CANADA:

BEAR ATTACK:

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Ontario 07/26/15 timminstimes.com: Ontario Provincial Police say a 60-year old woman was treated and released from hospital for injuries after being attacked by an “aggressive bear” nearMatheson on Friday afternoon. Police said two women were walking in the cottage area of Watabeag Lake when they encountered the bear. The OPP news release said one of the women was attacked by the bear and sustained injuries requiring medical treatment at the Matheson hospital. The nature of the woman’s injuries was not described by police. “OPP officers attended the area and located the bear,” said the police news release. “The bear displayed aggressive tendencies toward the officers and the bear was destroyed by the officers as a result.” The woman who was attacked is from the Guelph area. Watabeag Lake is located approximately 40 kilometers south west of Matheson. – See http://www.timminstimes.com/2015/07/26/friday-afternoon-bear-attack-near-matheson

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

muskrat3

Colorado 07/24/15 denverpost.com: by Anthony Cotton – A dead muskratfound recently at the Lily Lake area in Rocky Mountain National Parktested positive for tularemia, park officials said Friday. According to Colorado health officials, as of late May, there were 11 reported human cases of tularemia. A naturally occurring bacterial disease transmitted by infected insects and ticks to rabbits, hares, muskrats, beavers and other small rodents, tularemia can also spread to humans and can cause serious clinical symptoms. – For complete article seehttp://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28374467/colorado-health-officials-tularemia-cases-record-breaking-pace

zoonosis_tularemia (2)

North Dakota 07/24/15 valleynewslive.com: The ND Department of Health and the ND  Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Division, have received reports of two confirmed human cases of tularemia in LaMoure andBurleigh counties; one unconfirmed but likely positive human case in Stark County; a case in a squirrel from the Roosevelt Zoo in Minot; and cases in two primates from the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck. The Roosevelt and Dakota Zoos are taking precautions to protect their animals, staff and visitors from the disease. Visiting a zoo does not pose an increased risk to the general public. However, people are advised to follow guidelines against touching animals that are posted by the zoos, and to avoid direct contact with wild animals, such as rabbits and rodents, which are known carriers of tularemia. Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is caused by bacteria that are commonly transmitted to humans and animals by ticks and deer flies. Pets can also become infected if they consume the remains of an infected animal. Other means of infection in humans include skin contact with blood or tissue  of infected animals, inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosols, and ingestion of contaminated food or water. – For complete article seehttp://www.valleynewslive.com/home/headlines/Tularemia-Identified-In-Four-North-Dakota-Counties-318509531.html

RABIES:

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California 07/25/15 Monterey County: Adomestic cat that was reported dead on July 2nd by its owner, a City of Monterey resident, has tested positive for a strain of the rabies virus that is carried by bats. – Seehttp://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_28537775/monterey-health-department-confirms-rabid-cat-died-from

Judge upholds constitutionality of Michigan law that enables commission to allow wolf hunting   Leave a comment

July 23, 2015

From the Associated Press

MARQUETTE, Michigan — The Michigan Court of Claims has upheld a law empowering an appointed panel to allow hunting of wolves.

The state Legislature approved the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act last August. It gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the authority to classify animals as game species. The commission already had given wolves that designation, which led to the state’s first authorized wolf hunt in 2013.

The law nullified two citizen votes last fall that would have prevented wolf hunts. A group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed suit, saying the law violated the Michigan Constitution.

In a ruling issued Friday, Court of Claims Judge Mark T. Boonstra disagreed, writing that the group’s suit “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” He said the court was not taking a position on whether wolves should be hunted or not.

“That policy judgment is properly left to the Legislature and the people of the state of Michigan,” Boonstra said. “Rather, the sole question before this court is whether the legislative enactment in question violates the Michigan Constitution as alleged.”

A state spokesman praised the ruling.

MI Wolves (1)

“The citizen-initiated law gives authority to the Natural Resources Commission to regulate sport fishing in Michigan, aligning with the NRC’s authority to regulate the taking of game,” John Pepin, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman in Marquette, told The Mining Journal (http://bit.ly/1e0Sdwz ). “The act gives the NRC the authority to name game species. All of this supports sound scientific management of natural resources in Michigan.”

The Michigan United Conversation Clubs, a leading hunting and fishing group, also praised the decision.

“The court recognized that the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was about just what its title says, managing fish, wildlife and their habitats with sound science,” spokesman Drew YoungeDyke said in a statement.

The wolf protection group said it will appeal.

“The judge was clearly hostile to our case, and did not seriously address the key issues of the complaint,” said Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Director Jill Fritz. “We have good legal arguments and our next step will be to the Court of Appeals.”


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