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Fall 2016




All in the Family
By Justin Bohling

Wolf packs can be remarkably stable, and their composition and cooperation benefit the individual pack members in many ways. But loss of a breeder wolf can dramatically change pack dynamics. Understanding these issues is essential to successful wildlife management. Download full article.

It’s Complicated: Mexican Wolf Recovery Efforts in Mexico
By Dr. Carlos Lopez Gonzalez

Mexican wolves are the most distinct and endangered subspecies of wolf in the Americas, in danger of extinction and considered officially extirpated from the wild since 1994. Current efforts to reinstate a wild population in Mexico began in 2006, and reintroduced Mexican wolves have adapted to the wild. The reintroduction project is fragile, though, as success depends on landowners committed to conservation.

You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?
By Tracy O’Connell

Scientists have reported the existence of 21 different dialects in which wolves howl, providing clues to their area of origin and their species. With 2,000 recordings of canid species’ howls, computer analyses are revealing patterns that help wolves find each other, reveal the presence of strangers and share information across distances. This research may help preserve some canid species and prevent livestock depredation, as well.



From the Executive Director
by Rob Schultz

Wolf Pups’ Journey to America

It was hard to believe the moment had finally arrived. Joining us at the Ely Airport were U.S. Customs officers, a Fish and Wildlife Service agent, several International Wolf Center staff members and volunteers, our veterinarian and dozens of curious onlookers. Excitement and anticipation filled the air. In the distance, we could see landing lights flashing as the airplane that carried our new wolf pups made its final approach. Soon its wheels touched the runway, setting off an erupt

Tracking the Pack

Introducing Axel and Grayson
by Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, International Wolf Center

On May 25 the International Wolf Center completed the process of adopting two captive-born, arctic wolf pups from an accredited Canadian zoological facility. The adoption process began in December 2014 with research on captive facilities, wildlife and border crossing permits, genetic lineage and veterinary records, and concluded with the final U.S. Fish and Wildlife Import permits cleared at the Ely, Minn. airport. We welcomed two robust and alert pups nicknamed “Axel,” after Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian arctic, and “Grayback,” based on a color pattern on the pup’s shoulders.

Member Profile

Anika Hahn: Philanthropist at 13
by David Kline, development director, International Wolf Center

Seventh grader Anika Hahn grew up in a family with a multi-generational culture of giving back to the community—so it was no surprise to her mother that Anika chose to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah by inviting friends and family to make gifts in her honor to the International Wolf Center.  Download full article.

Wolves of the World

by Tracy O’connell

It is believed there are only two wolves (down from three in the 2015 count) still living on Isle Royale, a national park 15 miles from the Canadian shoreline in northwestern Lake Superior. Dr. Rolf Peterson is a professor at Michigan Technological University and lead researcher on a long-running study of Isle Royale. Peterson, along with other wolf biologists, has sought to release additional wolves onto the island to control moose population and restore wolf numbers to previous levels. Others have argued that intervention would interfere with the way of nature. (See spring 2014 edition of International Wolf.)

At least one striped hyena has joined forces with a wolf pack in the Negev desert in an unlikely pairing that has drawn the attention of researchers. The large carnivores have been known to hunt together, as indicated by their intermingled paw prints. While this phenomenon was first seen four years ago, the sighting of a hyena with a wolf pack
Biologists in two very different nations have joined forces to examine the impact of apex predators in their respective countries. The three-year study looks at wolves in Israel and dingoes in Australia, and may be valuable to other nations adjusting to the effects of living with wolves or considering rewilding proposals.
Meanwhile…66 metal statues of wolves posed in vicious or negative attitudes (such as a Nazi salute) were on display to protest racial intolerance,hatred and a Neo-Nazi attitude toward refugees. Titled “The Wolves are Back,” they are the work of artist Rainer Opolka. Measuring nearly six feet, the statues were initially installed in the Saxony capital of Dresden in March. Opolka hopes to take the exhibit to capitals of other German states.

Personal Encounter

A Very Personal Encounter
by Quinn Harrison

Crouched and alone, I listened to the distant rustling of vegetation give way to a thunderous trampling of bushes and ferns. My reaction was neither confusion nor curiosity—I felt only panic. Whatever it was, it was large, it was moving fast and it was getting closer. My mind desperately attempted to calculate the distance and trajectory of the racket. Fifty yards? Maybe. I was completely unprepared, vulnerable and exposed. Some unseen creature and I were about to conduct a backwoods physics experiment, and I was going to be one of two objects that could not occupy the same space at the same time. The defenseless one.


Meet the Pup Brothers
by Kristina Allen

Axel and Grayson were born on May 2, 2016. They are arctic wolves, a subspecies of the gray wolf species. The arctic wolf subspecies consists of a few hundred to a few thousand individuals in the wild, and only around 100 in captivity, so Axel and Grayson are actually very rare! As the newest pack members mature, their coats will change color from tan to white, or some mixture of white and black. Arctic wolves tend to be stocky compared to other subspecies, because in the wild, they live in a very cold, harsh climate. With their compact bodies, Axel and Grayson will retain their body heat a bit better than other ambassador wolves do.

A Look Beyond

Coywolf: A New Species in Our Midst?
by Jonathan G . Way

You may see one trotting down a neighborhood street or hear a pack howling anywhere in New England, from rural areas to urban centers. It looks bigger than a coyote but smaller than a wolf—and that’s because the “coyotes” in northeastern North America are hybrids between coyotes and wolves. A paper I recently co-authored states that they should be called coywolves and that they warrant new species status—Canis oriens—“eastern canid” in Latin.