Would we be safer? Would our planet suffer? All interesting questions that are furiously debated by wolf advocates and wolf opponents.
Since wolves are one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet, let’s debunk some myths.
Should We Be Afraid?
OK, so let’s get some facts straight. Since 1900, there have been 2 documented deaths caused by gray wolf attacks. Two in the last 100 years! Really…
Why then are we afraid? Because of childhood fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood” and cartoons depicting the big bad wolf. It was rather scary growing up with these fables.
Plus many ranchers and hunters see the wolf, any wolf, as bad for their cattle or their hunting. Is this true?
Well, no. Wolves rarely target cattle and domestic dogs kill far more cattle than wolves. For hunters, wolves keep the deer & elk herds healthy by eliminating the sick & diseased ones.
Why Are Wolves Good?
Wolves help keep elk, deer and moose populations in balance. culling out the sick and injured ones. The bottom line is they keep our ecosystem strong and healthy.
A 2001 study found that when wolves went extinct in Yellowstone, for example, the moose population ballooned to five times its normal size and demolished woody vegetation where birds nested. As a result, several bird species vanished in the park.
Cool Gray Wolf Facts
Wolves don’t howl at the moon. They howl to unify the pack or to warn other packs away.
And the pups are born both blind and deaf. All members of the pack work to feed them regurgitated food until they are about two months old.
In the US, we have two species of wolf, the gray wolf & the American red wolf. There’s a lot of misinformation that only one species, the gray wolf, exists but this is not true. The red wolf is a true, distinct species.
So how come gray wolves are white, black, brown & gray? Just like people with different hair colors, gray wolves come in a rainbow of shades.
Easy Actions You Can Take
- Adopt a gray wolf through Defenders of Wildlife.
- Advocate for wolves by spreading the word on social media grey wolves are important to our ecosystem. Share information that is accurate and positive and help dispel the myths surrounding all wolves.