Wolf Awareness Week

September 25, 2009

National Wolf Awareness Week

National Wolf Awareness Week
October 11, 2009- October 17, 2009
Nationwide

National Wolf Awareness Week is a week of events dedicated to dispelling misconceptions and teaching about the role wolves play in maintaining biological diversity. Defenders sponsors events nationwide.

Check our National Wolf Awareness Week page for more information and check Defenders of Wildlife's Events page for all the latest events!

October 17, 2008

Our Wolf Experts Answer Your Questions: Part III

Many of you were curious about the current climate for wolves in the Southwest. Our Southwest Program Director, Eva Sargent, answers your questions:

Question 6: How are the reintroduced Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico doing? 

Eva_bio "The lobos are in serious trouble. There were only 52 alive in the wild at the last official count, and that’s the only wild population of this rare wolf anywhere in the world! Despite ten years of work, and about 100 captive-born wolves released, there were only three breeding pairs at last count. Mexican wolves are once again teetering on the brink of extinction. Management needs to change – fast"

Question 7: What are the challenges facing Mex. wolf recovery efforts in the Southwest?

Eva_bio"The challenges are social and political – not biological. The released wolves know how to form packs, hunt prey, pair up and raise young. They restore balance to ecosystems in ways scientists are just beginning to understand. Unfortunately, a small number of very vocal and active wolf opponents have managed to slow progress toward wolf recovery. Many Mexican wolves have been illegally killed or poached. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has abdicated its responsibility for recovery – taking the easy fix of removing wolves when they prey on cattle instead of preventing conflicts in the first place. Too many wolves have been killed or removed this way. Keeping a healthy population of wolves in the wild should be the service’s top priority to ensure that Mexican wolf recovery is successful."

October 16, 2008

Our Wolf Experts Answer Your Questions: Part II

Question 4: Michele K asks: "Why are wolves in Alaska being shot from airplanes if the are still protected under the Endangered Species Act?  Why isn't that being shut down?"

Caroline_bio Our Senior Director of Field Conservation and Alaska wolf expert, Caroline Kennedy, answers: "Because wolf populations in Alaska have never declined to the extent they have in other states, they were never listed under Endangered Species Act. Alaska classifies wolves as both big game animals and furbearers, which means they can be hunted and trapped. The state has implemented predator control programs in certain parts of the state in order to artificially boost game populations. Their preferred method of killing wolves in these areas is aerial and land and shoot hunting. Each winter, the state issues permits to Alaska residents allowing them to shoot wolves using airplanes.

More than 30 years ago, Congress passed the Airborne Hunting Act to stop the aerial hunting of wolves and other wildlife. But Alaska is exploiting a loophole in this federal law that needs to be closed in order to end the state’s aerial hunting program. Congressman George Miller has introduced legislation that would fix the loophole and prevent other states from adopting similar programs when wolves are removed from the Endangered Species Act."

For more about aerial hunting, read our fact sheet.

Question 5: Randy B asks: "As a supporter of wolves I am often faced with accusations of wolf attacks on people. I have heard that no human has ever been killed in the US by a wolf. Is this true? What is the record of wolf caused injuries ? How do wolf attacks compare to cougar, bear, coyote and bobcats attacks?"

Gina_bio_3 Our Conservation Associate, Gina Schrader answers: "In general, wolves fear humans and do not approach them. As of October 2008, there is no documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing a human in the United States. In fact, very few incidents involving wolves attacking humans have occurred in North America. Those rare occurrences were reportedly caused because wolves associated humans as a food source, or because a wolf was likely reacting to the presence of dogs. 

Arguments regarding the danger of wolves to humans should be tempered by an understanding of their relative occurrence compared to attacks on or deaths of humans caused by other animals. For instance, each year 90 to 100 deaths from bee or wasp sting reactions occur in the United States. Furthermore, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and approximately 16 fatalities result from such bites.

To prevent conflicts with wildlife, people must act responsibly by never feeding or approaching wild animals or take other actions that cause wild animals to lose fear of humans."

October 15, 2008

Our Wolf Experts Answer Your Questions: Part I

Happy Wolf Awareness Week!!

Thank you for sending us your questions on wolves. Due to an overwhelming response, we are not able to have our experts answer every question that was submitted. We have chosen the most popular questions for our experts to answer, the first batch is below:

Question 1: Katherine C asks: "Are the Red wolves of the Pocosin National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina fully protected?"

Our Conservation Associate and red wolf expert Gina Schrader answers:

Gina_bio_3"Today, more than 100 wild red wolves roam more than 1.7 million acres throughout northeastern North Carolina, including Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Within their current range, red wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act as a non-essential experimental population. This designation offers special management regulations. Learn more about endangered red wolves."

Question 2: Denise K asks: "Why isn't more being done to let farmers and ranchers know about the guy who came up with the idea of recording his packs howling and giving that recording to the farmers/ranchers to play on their property to keep the wild wolves away from their flocks and herds? It has been proven that it works as wolves are territorial and will not go where another pack lives, and the howling of another pack lets them know to not trespass."

Our Northern Rockies associate and proactive expert, Jesse Timberlake, answers:

Jesse_bio_2"Work has been done on these 'howl boxes' for a number of years now. One has to be careful though and make sure that these recorded wolf howls do not attract nearby wolves. Wolves by their nature are very curious creatures, as are all canines, and if they hear a howl that they do not recognize, they may decide to come closer and check it out. Obviously this is the opposite effect that these boxes are intended for. State agencies have used Radio Activated Guard (RAG) boxes for a number of years. These boxes are tuned into the frequency of local collared wolves, and when they get too close the box emits a strobe light effect and recorded noises of gunshots and horses stampeding. These have proven to be a very effective tool to keep wolves out of cattle during calving season.

In fact this summer Defenders has helped fund a project that used similar 'howl boxes' to monitor the number of wolves in remote areas. These boxes emit howls on a timed schedule, and when nearby wolves howl back it records these noises and biologists can tell how many wolves are in a certain area. Defenders employs a wide array of nonlethal techniques which you can view on our Web site."

Question 3: Karen G asks: "Is it true that wolves have only one partner that they mate with for life?"

Our Northern Rockies representative and gray wolf expert, Suzanne Asha Stone, answers:

Suzanne_bio_2 "Wolves have very strong family bonds much like humans.  Alpha wolves are often the parents of the other pack members and typically are the only pack members to mate and produce pups, but not always. The alpha pair sometimes mate for life but wolves rarely live beyond 8 years old in the wild.  Sometimes an alpha wolf is killed and its mate may select a new alpha. Other times, when an alpha wolf dies, the pack itself disbands.  Sometimes, wolves change roles within a pack and a younger wolf may become an alpha leader.  However, wolves almost never interbreed with other family members but will seek out a mate that is unrelated to the pack.  That helps ensure better genetic stability within the species."

October 09, 2008

Did you know...

That next week is Wolf Awareness Week??

Join us in celebrating Wolf Awareness Week by submitting your burning questions to our panel of wolf experts! As you may know, this year has been extremely eventful for our legal, field and science teams. We have succeeded in making sure wolves remain protected under the Endangered Species Act and we have just wrapped up a very successful collaborative effort working with livestock owners and state officials to engage in non-lethal techniques.

Our experts are available to answer any question you have ever wanted to ask about wolves, or our work with wolves. You must submit your question by 11am on Tuesday the 13th of October.

Don't forget to check back with our blog to see if your question was answered by one of our experts! 

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