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Fall 2017

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Features


 

Ma’iingan and Other Cultural Wolves
By Tovar Cerulli

In the Ojibwe world view, the Great Spirit placed original man on earth, and the wolf became man’s guide and brother. Tovar Cerulli explains that this spiritual understanding of the wolf can also be considered in secular terms, and that all of us—including wolves—might benefit if we did just that.

Wildlife Research: From Ear Tags to Armchair
By Dr. L. David Mech , U.S. Geological Survey

In part 2 of this real-life story, wildlife biologist Dave Mech continues his entertaining description of methods used by scientists to track, study and ultimately help preserve various species of wildlife. The process has changed dramatically over his lengthy career, going “from ear tags to armchair” with advancements in tracking technology. (Find part 1 in the summer 2017 edition of International Wolf.) Download full article.

 Wolf Communication: We Still Have Much to Learn
By Tracy O’Connell

The eerie, thrilling sound of a wolf’s howl is both familiar and mysterious to humans. We know that wolves communicate with each other, and that howling is a form of communication they understand. But what we don’t know— and biologists are still learning—is all
the other ways they share essential messages that keep the pack together, and foster safety and survival.

Departments


 

From the Executive Director

“Who Speaks for Wolf ” 2017 Award Heidi Pinkerton
by Rob Schultz

It is a great honor to recognize Heidi Pinkerton, who has become a core member of our pack at the International Wolf Center. It was ambassador wolf Maya and her untimely death in 2011 that drove Heidi to seek the solace of the Northern Lights where the night sky illuminated a broad spectrum of colorful particles. Accompanying the night show was the alluring howl of a lone wolf. The end result is a stunning “Howling from the Heavens” photograph that graces the walls of the Center in the memory of Maya.

Tracking the Pack

Data Observations Drive Management Decisions
by Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, International Wolf Center

As managers of the ambassador wolves, it’s important for us to understand pack dynamics, social alliances and tensions that may
arise within a wolf pack. Wolf care staff members conduct daily checks of the wolves’ physical conditions and deliver a variety of nutritional supplements—and when necessary, prescribed medications—365 days a year. But the presence of the wolf care staff can influence pack dynamics as individual wolves compete for staff attention.

Member Profile

Pass The Mustard, Please
by David Kline

Lisa Nivens will not only pass the mustard, she’ll include the spicy BBQ sauce, the hot sauce and the ketchup! For 13 years, Lisa has worked for The French’s Food Company, calling on restaurant chains such as Chili’s and Hardee’s as the national accounts manager. She regularly partners with restaurant culinary and marketing teams to customize new sauces or menu items.

Wolves of the World

Wolf Fans And Foes Sound Off Around The World
by Tracy O’connell

AUSTRALIA
An Australian-led study meanwhile asks, Are humans inadvertently creating a new wave of wolves that are domesticating into dogs?
Thomas Newsome, who was on the team studying the relationship between wolves and golden jackals reported above, was lead researcher in this study, released in the journal BioScience in April. Newsome, of Deakin University and the University of Sydney in Australia, reports on his website that he and his colleagues used case studies of gray wolves and other large predators to explore the effects of foods, found as a result of human presence.
 
CANADA
In Canada, DNA testing continues to show that wolves and coyotes have been mating in Newfoundland. John Blake, the province’s director of wildlife, says 11 harvested animals were so confirmed since 2013. “It’s just adding to the genetic mix that’s already very
hybrid. The eastern coyote came here in the 1980s. That already had Algonquin wolf as part of its genetic makeup,”
 
MONGOLIA
In Mongolia, a traditional livestock guard dog, the Bankhar, is being brought back to protect the nomads’ herds. Bruce Elfstrom, a biologist interviewed by the English-language Nikkei Asia Review, says he was producing a documentary in 2004 on the steppes of Mongolia when he was roused in his yurt by the sounds of wolves outside killing nearly 50 animals belonging to local herders.
 
NETHERLANDS
In the Netherlands, a dead male wolf in Drenthe (in the country’s northeastern part, near the border with Germany) was apparently hit by a car in April. If the wolf was killed in the Netherlands, it would indicate that the animals are moving back into the country.
 
SCOTLAND
In Scotland, the Trees for Life charity has recruited a group of volunteers to stalk the woods pretending to be wolves in order to simulate the effect of reintroducing the species, which it claims would be advantageous.
 
RUSSIA
The Siberian Times reported in March the proposal that wealthy tourists should be invited to pay $10,000 to shoot a wolf in Siberia, to make money for the government while culling the predators in an effort to reduce losses of reindeer and horses.
 

Personal Encounter

Spring and Strife in Yellowstone
by Kira A. Cassidy
 
Flipping up the visor on my flight helmet, I scanned the ground 800 feet below as the pilot throttled back the engine of the tiny, yellow two-seater plane and banked left.
 
“There! Off to the left, under the wing, 9 o’clock!” My voice betrayed the adrenaline rush. It was the Mollie’s pack, less than a half-mile away from the den of the Junction Butte pack, and quickly closing the distance to their rivals.
 
April is usually a quiet time for wolves in Yellowstone. The snow is melting in the low elevations, and rivers of green grass glow between the leafless, gray branches of aspens and the red stems of willows. Female wolves are choosing den sites—the hub of their family’s summer activity, and the school and playground for the new pups. But all that tranquility was gone as I watched the Mollie’s moving purposefully toward that den and the Junction Butte wolves sleeping nearby.

WildKids

Citizen Science

In our previous issue, we discussed how important citizen science is, and how kids just like you can get involved.

 
Citizen scientists’ eyes and ears help us collect information that informs scientists who study wolves. For example, mange is a
disease that can hurt wolf populations, and can even hurt our pet dogs. Our dogs can get veterinary care, so mange isn’t such a
big problem for them. But wild wolves don’t have this luxury. Photographers in Yellowstone National Park act as citizen scientists by submitting their wolf photos to scientists who analyze them for evidence of mange.

A Look Beyond

Wolves Lose Federal Protection in Wyoming
by Edward A. Fitzgerald, J.D. , Ph. D.

The controversial management of wolves in Wyoming has generated litigation and congressional action, the focus of which has been
the Department of Interior (Interior) acceptance of Wyoming’s wolf management plan.

Interior’s acceptance of the plan was a requirement for delisting from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Wyoming sought to manage the least number of wolves in the narrowest possible geographic area, while Interior insisted a statewide trophy-game designation
was needed; that designation allows the state to regulate the method, season and number of wolves taken on state land.

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