Wolves weigh around 70-120 pounds, 26-34 inches in height at the shoulder and very lean and powerful. The wolf is a very social creature, which forms a bond with its pack. It is said, “When you look into their eyes, you can see their spirit.” When hunting they will strike as one, as they are very dynamically structured. A pack could consist of 6 or 7 members and as many as 15 wolves. Two members of the pack are parents, and the rest are the offspring from different seasons.
This is a misdemeanor. Wolves hunt deer, rabbits, moose, and other animals (“Wolf”). Because most of the animals they hunt are in fact larger than them, the sickly, inferior, or downright small are targeted since wolves track then kill prey up to ten times their size with their teeth(“All about Wolves”). This makes the hunted animals population stronger. While wolf hunting habits are a prime example of natural selection, human hunters are the opposite.
Canis Lupus, the Latin term for the “North American Wolf”. A meat eating mammal with the capability of weighing up to 180 pounds and reaching a height of sixty-three inches, the wolf is easily the largest member of the canine family. Over 500,000 wolves once lived in harmony, roaming the Northern Americas alongside the Native American tribes and the rest of the ecosystem. Wolves live in packs, a pack essentially being a family. While the average size of a pack is six to ten, the largest confirmed pack recorded in North America can be found in Yellowstone National Park where the “Druid Pack” numbers thirty-seven strong and counting.
USFWS - Gray Wolf Recovery. Ed. Gary Kramer. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 14 Feb. 2014.
Wolf activists, farmers, and hunters are the main players in the fight for or against wolf reintroduction. Wolves are a vital part of our ecology, the animal kingdom’s food chain, and economy; and as such should be reintroduced to all the areas that the wolf roamed before they were wiped out by European explorers. The ecology, or how living organism interact with their environment, starts from the top, or the predator and goes down to the soil and streams. Before the wolf was introduced to the Yellowstone National Park, elk populations have grown too large for the land to sustain them. Due to the large number of elk eating the grass and trees, the grass has been eaten, and the soil has become loose due to the lack of grass to hold the soil in place (Hannibal 2012).
Many wolves were removed from regions where they weren’t even threats to humans or livestock (Klinghammer 446) because wolves, like grizzlies, were perceived as competitors for land and food. Unlike grizzly bears, wolves didn’t survive in the Northern Rocky Mountains because of poisonings, shootings, and bounties for their pelts (Barker 177). These actions caused the extinction of wolves in western states, changing the ecosystems by eliminating a natural predator. The reasons for this genocide, according to David Mech, were “the possible predation by the wolf upon man. .
The reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park did not end the debate of whether wolves should stay or go. Advocates for wolf reintroduction say the wolves control elk and deer population numbers; preventing the destruction of ranchers cattle and the land. Opponents say the wolves kill elk and deer that could be hunted. Ranchers fear the wolves will kill their livestock decreasing profits. Wolves are a natural mean of controlling the number of deer, elk, and other large game in an environment.
Wolves are scavengers as well as hunters and may have been some of the first animals to discover this squander treasure (Horowitz, 2009). The least fearful of these wolves became increasingly undaunted by the presence of the unfamiliar humans. Together the two species began to tolerate one another through prolonged encounters until finally, humans began taking in a few pups as “pets” or, in times of hardship, “food.” Eventually, our ancestors began intentionally breeding these “domesticated” wolves to serve as assistant hunters and protectors (Horowitz, 2009). We can only surmise that the functionality of these domestic wolves served a great purpose; for what other reason would justify letting a meat-eater into one’s home? It would be difficult to provide provisions for such an animal and if one were unsuccessful, they befall a risk of becoming their pet wolf’s next meal.
Until people moved in, wolves were settled. As European settlement expanded to the west, it began to take its toll on the wolves and their habitat. Clearing of the forests came first, which was then accompanied by significant over-hunting in this area (Noceker). Slowly wolves became concentrated into smaller and smaller areas in the west. Finally, they were assumed to be bothers to the ranchers and farmers and maybe a threat to those people who lived in the area.
Was it simply that some guy at some point in time needed a heavy object dragged, and didn't want to do it himself? Perhaps some one wanted a companion. Only one thing can be said for sure, these furry guys are among the most beloved animals in the world, and are welcome in many, many homes. Archaeological and genetic evidence shows that domestication began as late as 15,000 years ago, and as early as nearly 32,000 years ago. The original species domesticated at the time, was the gray wolf, or Canis lupus.