There are two species of wolves in North America.
Canis Lupus or the North American Grey Wolf, and Canis Rufus- the Eastern Red Wolf.
While the Canis Lupus is commonly called the Gray wolf or Canadian Timber, there are actually several different color phases. They are Gray, Black,White, Brown,Red and even Brindled.
The North American Gray wolf is said to be a survivor of the Ice Age, originating about 300,000 years ago.
The male matures to about 150 to 175 pounds though some have been known to be a good bit larger.
The wolf is a fur bearing animal which is one of the ways it differs from most dogs. During the winter wolves put on a very heavy under coat which insulates them from harsh winter weather. The outer hair or "Guard Hair" is much longer and is hollow inside. The hollow guard hair also helps to insulate the wolf from the harsh northern climates they are most likely to be found living in.
Wolves live in a structured society called a pack. Only the Alpha Male and Female mate. There are three social classes according to most authorities. The social classes are Alpha, Beta and Omega. The Alpha is the upper class, Betas are middle class and the Omega is the lower class. We personally have seen that there are actually at least two more transitional classes. These are classes where Alphas may be forced to a lower class by a stronger animal, or a Beta Moving upward because of a weaker Alpha. The same is true between the Beta and Omega classes.
Wolves are carnivorous predators who generally live by following the herd animals in their home range.
Another interesting fact about wolves are that they are monogamous, meaning they mate for life.
While only the Alpha pair mate, every member of the pack look after the babies. In most packs, the Omegas will stay near the den with the cubs and protect them with their lives while the rest of the pack hunts.
While the term cub is used for the young by many, the term pup is also used. The difference is only one of professional opinion and both are correct.
The wolf has only three primary natural enemies that may be a threat to them in their territory. These natural enemies are Mountain Lions, Bears and Humans.
There are many stories designed to cause us to fear wolves, these are basically incorrect. Wolves are not a natural threat to humans, though just like any wild animal if they are cornered, hungry, sick wounded or have young, they may possibly attack humans. Sine humans are not on the food chain for wolves, humans are not generally in danger from wolves and wolves will more often than not avoid humans when possible.
Wolves are one of the natural predators of North America that is most important to a balanced ecosystem, preying primarily on weaker and sick herd animals. They keep the Moose, Elk and Deer herds moving and vigilant, thus making the herds stronger and more durable.
Wolves at one time could be found through out almost all of North America, though today there are few wolves compared to what once roamed across the country.
Canis Rufus, the Eastern Red Wolf is a much smaller wolf than the Canadian Timber.
The male Canis Rufus matures at around 100 to 125 pounds while the females somewhat smaller, mature at between 75 and 100 pounds.
The Eastern Red Wolf almost became extinct. There were less than four hundred left in existence
In 1972, Marlin Perkins and a group of experts gathered up the remaining Red Wolves into captivity. They were red in captivity and in the early 90's three releases were made. One in Tenneesee, one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina..Recovery for the Red Wolf, native to the East and South Eastern United States has been slow.
The small numbers left in existence has made it a very difficult process but today, there are more than 600 in existence.
While there will never be Red Wolves through out the Eastern Range they once traveled, they do still exist, for now at least.
At one time the howl of the wolves could be heard all across the United States. For many it is a frightening sound, for others, it is a very beautiful sound. Wolves do not as some people believe, howl at the moon. They howl to communicate with each other. If members of the pack become separated from the pack, they howl to locate the pack. Wolves have a distinctive howl and these howls can be heard by the pack as far as ten miles away.
Wolves also make many other sounds besides howling. They yip, bark, whine and converse with numerous different vocalizations. The deeper voices tend to belong to the more dominant wolves while subordinates tend to have a higher pitch howl. Cubs are generally not allowed to howl and are admonished for it because it would alert an invading pack or an enemy of the presence of cubs in the pack.
Howls are also used to warn other packs that they have entered an established pack territory. Since wolves are very territorial, they do not tolerate invasion easily.
Why Do Wolves Howl?
Ask anyone about wolf vocalizations and the howl invariably springs to mind. Even though wolves bark, woof, whine, whimper, yelp, growl, snarl and moan a lot more often than they howl, it is howling that defines the wolf, and fascinates us. So why do wolves howl?
The center of a wolf's universe is its pack, and howling is the glue that keeps the pack together. Some have speculated that howling strengthens the social bonds between packmates; the pack that howls together, stays together. That may be so, but chorus howls can also end with nasty quarrels between packmates. Some members, usually the lowest-ranking, may actually be "punished" for joining in the chorus. Whether howling together actually strengthens social bonds, or just reaffirms them, is unknown.
We do know, however, that howling keeps packmates together, physically. Because wolves range over vast areas to find food, they are often separated from one another. Of all their calls, howling is the only one that works over great distances. Its low pitch and long duration are well suited for transmission in forest and across tundra, and unique features of each individual's howl allow wolves to identify each other. Howling is a long distance contact and reunion call; separate a wolf from its pack, and very soon it will begin howling, and howling, and howling...
Frame grab of sonagram For the following examples of howling, you can "read" the sound spectrograph as you listen to the howls. For each spectrograph, the pitch of the sound is displayed on the vertical axis, so howls low in pitch are nearer the bottom, and howls high in pitch will be found toward the top. Time is represented along the horizontal axis, going from left to right, just as you are now reading this text. A howl that is unmodulated in pitch would appear as a straight line across the screen. Most howls show some degree of modulation, so they look like rolling hills or steep ridges leading to or falling away from plateaus. In addition to its so-called fundamental, or lowest frequency, most howls have harmonics, which appear as higher and higher bands of sound that run parallel to the fundamental on the sonagram.
When a wolf howls, not only can its packmates hear it, but so can any other wolf within range. These other wolves may be members of hostile adjacent packs that are competitors for territory and prey. Howl too close to these strangers, and they may seek you out, chase you, and kill you. In northern Minnesota, where wolves are protected from humans, the primary cause of death for adult wolves is being killed by wolves from other packs. So howling has its costs (running into the opposition) as well as its benefits (getting back with the pack). Consequently, wolves are careful about where and when they howl, and to whom they howl.
For example, a wolf that is separated from its pack may return to an abandoned summer rendezvous site and howl for hours, even in response to a stranger nearby. It was accustomed to howling at that site and probably feels relatively confident and secure there. But that same wolf, away from the old home site, will be much more reserved, and if a stranger howls nearby, it may silently and quickly retreat. Younger wolves, however, act differently.
Cubs, especially those under four months of age, love to howl and will usually reply to any howling they hear, even that of total strangers. This is understandable, since cubs haven't yet learned how to identify their older packmates.
Why We Need Predators
We have long since either eradicated or reduced the ability of predators to do their part to control our eco system.
Man as a predator is far from being effective and will eventually if left to his current applications, destroy all wildlife.
Man predates from the top down. This allows the lower side of the gene pool to breed without competition. The stronger animals are killed the weaker ones find no resistance to their place in the ranks.
This leads to a reduction in disease resistance, Animal size is reduced, mortality rates become volatile and the entire eco-system is effected by any individual species in the same way. Population explosions occur, over feeding on the eco-system deprives other animals of needed food and thus it goes .
The absence of all predators has the very same effect as the scenario above. With no natural predators and no hunting at all, everything still dies. Ultimately both have the same devastating effect on the eco-system.
If man is not going to allow predators to keep the weak animals out of the gene pool and stimulate competition for breeding ranks among herding animals, then he can expect to see the eventual demise of all of our wildlife. It is only a matter of time.
With man as the primary predator, he must learn to predate from the bottom up. Trophy hunting is not the answer to the issues at hand, nor are there viable arguments to validate management ideas that do not conform to nature.
Endangerd Wolves In The World
Subspecies of wolves throughout the world that are endangered because of the actions of humans.
Note: This list is by no means the complete list and as before is only relating to those subspecies as affected by humans.
I am still adding others as I find them .
Arabian Wolf ( Canis lupus arabs ) - ENDANGERED
Melville Island Wolf / Arctic Wolf ( Canis lupus arctos ) - ENDANGERED
Mexican Wolf ( Canis lupus baileyi ) - ENDANGERED
British Columbia Wolf ( Canis lupus columbianus ) - ENDANGERED
Vancouver Island Wolf ( Canis lupus crassodon ) - ENDANGERED
Hudson Bay Wolf ( Canis lupus hudsonicus ) - ENDANGERED
Eastern Timber Wolf ( Canis lupus lycaon ) - ENDANGERED
Mackenzie Tundra Wolf ( Canis lupus mackenzii ) - ENDANGERED
Baffin Island Wolf ( Canis lupus manningi ) - ENDANGERED
Middle Eastern Wolf ( Canis lupus pallipes ) - ENDANGERED
Extinct Gray Wolves
There are several subspecies that became extinct during prehistoric times.
I am only listing the ones that became extinct during modern times.
These subspecies became extinct as a direct result of human action, or inaction as the case may be.
Note: There are several species which I am still researching. Discovering the common name as well as the scientific name can be a bit difficult.
This list only contains subspecies of the Gray Wolf, known to be extinct. Endangered subspecies will appear on our endangered list.
Kenai Peninsula Wolf ( Canis lupus alces ) Alaska - EXTINCT
Newfoundland Wolf ( Canis lupus beothucus ) - EXTINCT
Banks Island Tundra Wolf ( Canis lupus bernardi ) - EXTINCT
Spanish wolf ( Canis lupus deitanus ) -EXTINCT
Cascade Mountain Wolf ( Canis lupus fuscus ) Cascade Mountains - EXTINCT
Japanese Wolf ( Canis lupus hodophylax ) - EXTINCT
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf ( Canis lupus irremotus ) - EXTINCT
Arizona Wolf ( Canis lupus mogollonensis ) Arizona and New Mexico - EXTINCT
Texas Gray Wolf ( Canis lupus monstrabilis ) Texas and Northeast Mexico - EXTINCT
Great Plains Wolf ( Canis lupus nubilus ) the Great Plains or "buffalo" wolf - EXTINCT
Southern Rocky Mountain Wolf ( Canis lupus youngi ) - EXTINCT
The efforts to de-list North American Gray Wolves are consistent with the extinctionist ideas on conservation which have prevailed in the United States since the first European ship sailed into the North American Waters.
The lack of concern over the damage that has occurred and the damage which is still occurring seems to be the norm.
It is obvious that the wishes of a few who want to kill every living thing they come in contact with are being set above the greater numbers of those who wish to protect our wildlife.
In order to protect our wildlife, permanent protections must be put into place. Not sanctions which are temporary and subject to changing political winds.
It is time that the Public Lands in the United States are protected for all of the People and not just a few who wish to use them for either their own grazing lands or their own private hunting preserve where they can kill anything that walks, crawls or flies.
Let’s do something intelligent for a change. Let’s protect our Public Lands forever, along with our wildlife that can live there in peace and in the way of nature without the fear of humans driving any species into extinction.
If those who are elected to office are truly supposed to represent the people who elect them, then perhaps they should start listening.
So, hear our voices when we tell you that we do not want wolves de-listed. We want their habitat protected and we do not want them killed or harassed and longer.
We want habitat restoration improvements made to our public land that will help to restore the wolf and prey animal populations to a level that will sustain both as well as all other creatures that both depend upon in order to thrive.
By protecting our wildlife we also protect the human race. It is obviously in the best interest of all humans to protect wildlife and their habitat.
If we are going to survive as a species, we also must learn to make sure that no other species meets its demise because of our occupation of the earth.
We urge Congress to establish permanent protections that were supposed to be enacted by the ESA which has fallen terribly short.
It is time to stop playing politics and start doing what is right.