THE WORLD´S LARGEST CANID AND THE PORTRAY OF ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE
“When a dog loves you, you feel flattered. When a wolf befriends you, you will be moved close to the tears.”
My wolves, the elegant predators and the voice of wilderness, the symbol of raw freedom and ultimate survival. They are the most beloved and admired terrestrial mammals and also the most condemned, by fear and misunderstanding. You can never fail if you choose to love wolves or, at least, to give them their piece of peace on the Earth. The wolves are beautiful, loyal and endangered, almost like good people, rare in nowadays wildlife settings. Back in past, they were numerous and used to prey there where shadows slept.
I am not sure if you did watch the movie “The Grey” from 2011, based on the novel “Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers but actually very good developed scenario on the survival of oil-men, lost in Alaska, after plane crash. Only the strongest and the bravest will survive and following the story of Liam Neeson, you will merge with the philosophy of wolf pack and their logic of existence. The tale was bloody and thrilling but the heart of the wolves survived. Then, I learnt to be amazed by grey wolves and to go with them into the source of their nordic nature and social intelligence of its own kind.
The grey wolf or the gray wolf ( the both names are correct, according to Yellowstone researchers ) is known to be one of the largest canid in the world. It is not only elegant predator and ruler of the wild woods and rural areas but also the one that has experienced the brutal revenge of human race and being killed, simply for trying to survive. The people have killed grey wolves just like that, justifying the cruelty through the need in order to protect livestock and farm animals. I am asking people why they took the land of wolves and conquered their territories ? The Planet is enough big for all earthlings.
Those enchanting wild dogs are known to be timber wolves, the canines with bushy tails and the size of the adult, rather large German shepherd. Their size and colour depends on the region they are located in so the northern grey wolves are bigger as those from the south:“The average size of a wolf’s body is three to five feet long and their tails are usually one to two feet long. Females typically weigh 60 to 100 pounds, and males weigh 70 to 145 pounds.”
They are monogamous animals which means they are mating for life and living in tight family groups with definite hierarchy. Their social organisation and wisdom has always driven scientists to give their best to get into the patterns of their pack behaviour and to offer the conclusions of their super social communication and networking. Their internal language is still a puzzle for zoologists but as far as we know, they can communicate among each others through the advanced body signals, like barking, growling, dancing, howling and scent marking: “Much of their communication is about reinforcing the social hierarchy of the pack. When a wolf wants to show that it is submissive to another wolf, it will crouch, whimper, tuck in its tail, lick the other wolf’s mouth, or roll over on its back. When a wolf wants to challenge another wolf, it will growl or lay its ears back on its head. A playful wolf dances and bows. Barking is used as a warning, and howling is for long-distance communication to pull a pack back together and to keep strangers away.”
We shouldn’t forget that grey wolves live on pack and pack live on grey wolves. Sometimes, the pack consists of 4 or even 7 wolves, leading by alpha couple – male and female, father and mother. Those couple is something like king and queen of the wolf fellowship, the one that is taking care of the pups and the welfare of the members. Nevertheless, the alpha male is dominant over the whole pack, over male and females and over his own alpha female. When they are born, the wolf pups are vulnerable and fragile like every baby, blind and deaf, they depend on the care of parents and pack members, as long as they aren’t mature, that happens mostly at 10 months of age. The little one has a choice to join the pack at age of 3 or to leave it, searching for its own new one family. Sometimes, the young wolves decide to leave the basic family and they may travel hundreds of miles, seeking for a new available area.
The family is pack and pack is the family. The wolves hunt within their territory (50 to 1,000 square miles ) but after they note that the population of their prey is in decline, they are ready to move, giving a time to the ecosystem to recover itself. In other words, the wolves or grey wolves are natural controllers of population of the food chain and the balance in ecosystem. The problem starts at the moments when humans interfere in the natural schemes and schedules.
The grey wolves are situated mostly in Alaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, western Montana, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon and in the area of the Yellowstone and Wyoming. The Yellowstone has done an amazing job of reintroduction of grey wolves in 1995, after the terrible and dropping statistic by the end of 1920s, when the wolves were killed off, by ranchers. Now, the wonderful region of Yellowstone is a shelter of the wolves in the U.S., their last standing against the animal abuse and wildlife crime. It is interesting that as of January 2020, there are at least about 94 wolves and 8 packs in the park that they were noted. The number is not stable and it is revised from time to time but the program of the Yellowstone has shown the adventages of wolf role in the ecosystem. Why? The scientists warn that many other animals benefit from wolf kills. The case study of wolf that kills an elk show us that ravens and magpies come immediately, then coyotes. After them, bears try to get the food, chasing away the wolves and eagles and invertebrates are also on the wolf kills benefit list. They regulate the ecosystem with no mistake.
The current wolf management all over the world is mixed. Sometimes, there are more voices against the wolves and for their killing and sometimes it is pro their role and the contributions they have. It depends on how the mood and campaign of the people is. The grey wolves are intelligent mammals with advanced feelings for social behaviour and attachments. They do not attack people and they are not coming into your town or village to kill you. Ask yourself why you go to their territories, trying to steal their land and their rights on land. When we think of grey wolves we cant ignore that fact that they know for what they stand for. Family first. I remember the story from 2000, where the female wolves of the Druid pack killed their packs alpha female but carried her pups to the central den and raised them as their own. This is not rare in wolf psychology. They do not see wolf pups as enemy, even if they kill their parents, they keep taking care of the Youngs. What kind of compassion for a future generations.
If I ever get lost in the dark woods, I wont be afraid. The wolves are there to protect me, because I am guardian myself.The Earth belongs to the wolves too. Give them what they have right to have, what is theirs and you will know that shadows aren’t there to get you but to protect you and our planet.
SAVE THE WOLVES!
3 thoughts on “THE GREY WOLF: THE GHOST WALKER”
What an amazing article, Sarah !
The grey wolf is an intelligent and beautiful animal. It has the right to live and to be, just like us !
As you mentioned, the grey wolf lives in Michigan. The number of grey wolves in Michigan has been on the decline for years due to evil hunting. Hunters are always trying to justify killing innocent animals just for the sake of their evil pleasure. Why does anyone feel pleasure in killing a sentient being ?!
In recent years, the hunting of the grey wolf has been on the ballot and we, the people, collectively voted against the evil hunting of the grey wolf !
Thank you, Sarah, for always standing up for all animals and for being their voice in this world full of silence as to animal rights !
Sarah’s inspiring and insightful article reminded me of both the linguistic and mythical evolutions of the word ‘wolf’ and the animal itself…
The English word ‘wolf’ derives from The Old Norse ‘úlfr’ via the Ancient Germanic root.
Species of wolves date back about 1.5 million years and the fossils reveal that they were much larger than modern species: in 2019, scientists unearthed a preserved body of a wolf dated to c. 40,000 BCE, in The Arctic Circle regions of Russia. The proportions are significantly larger than those of contemporary wolves.
The ancient Greeks associated wolves with their god Apollo; their word for the animal being ‘λῠ́κος’ (i.e. lykos). The ancient Romans called the creature ‘lupus’; associating it with their god of war, Mars. Their myth of Romulus and Remus being nurtured by a she-wolf arose out of ancient Roman historians manufacturing mythical origins of the Roman Republic; in order to give it a mystical appeal (i.e. eternal).
Though, feral children have existed, always… An infamous case is of Oxana Malaya (b. 1983) in the former Soviet Union (Ukraine): her parents were alcoholics and neglected her, and she sought companionship and safety with the dogs in the back yard. She would spend much of her life with them until 1991. She took on the psyche of a dog.
The Sanskrit word for wolf is ‘वृक’ (vruk). The Russian word for wolf is ‘bojik’ (pronounced ‘volk’). In Vedic Hinduism, the wolf is a symbol of the night and the daytime quail must escape from its jaws. In Tantric Buddhism, wolves are depicted as inhabitants of graveyards and destroyers of corpses.
In the North American Pawnee creation myth, the wolf was the first animal brought to Earth. When humans killed it, they were punished with death, destruction and the loss of immortality. For the Pawnee, Sirius is the wolf star and its disappearance and reappearance signified the wolf moving to and from the spirit world. Both Pawnee and Blackfoot call The Milky Way ‘The Wolf Trail’.
Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.