Spring 2020

Features


Wolves Lose in Attempted Minnesota Recolonization
By Tracy O’Connell

Wolves adapt in order to survive, and sometimes that adaptability takes them into places where the native inhabitants—usually humans—cannot adapt to their presence. This cautionary tale is based on a study of wolves that did not survive their attempt to colonize an interface between rural and suburban areas in Minnesota. Download full article.

The Wolves of Coronation Island: The First Experiment in Wolf- Prey Interactions
By Debra Mitts-Smith

Nearly 50 years ago, biologists began trying to understand how predators and prey populations affect each other in an isolated environment. This first study on Coronation Island revealed much about the effects of climate, dispersal opportunity, vegetation and human interference on these interactions.

International Wolf Center Reaches Out to the Western United States
By Chad Richardson

The “Wolves at Our Door” program educates more than 15,000 Minnesota students each year. Now the Center assists states where wolf populations are growing by offering train-the-trainer sessions. This story describes early successes in the Center’s new effort to teach residents of the western United States scientific facts about wolves.

 

Departments


From the Board Chair

Meet our New Executive Director
by Nancy jo Tubbs

It’s my pleasure to introduce our new executive director, Grant Spickelmier, who joined the International Wolf Center pack in mid-January, bringing to our mission his 25 years of experience in wildlife education.

Tracking the Pack

Understanding the Complexity of the Species
by Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center lost two ambassador wolves to cancer in the fall of 2019. The first was Aidan, who died on August 14 after a lengthy battle with mast cell tumors that eventually invaded his internal organs. The second was Luna, who was euthanized on November 26, having succumbed to the impacts of a fast-growing, spindlecell sarcoma.

Member Profile

Following the Wolves from Florida
by Chad Richardson

The International Wolf Center has a diverse membership, but one of our newest members breaks the mold. He lives in Florida, loves boxing
and he’s just 18 years old. Christian Williams joined a few months ago after learning about the Center through a relative—and his love for wolves and learning make it clear he’s right at home here.

Wolves of the World

Wolf DNA Gives Advantage to Tibetan Dogs; African Monkeys “Tame” Their Canid Neighbors; Wolves Are Appreciated in Iran,
Reintroduced in Ireland, and Missing in Belgium and Netherlands
by Tracy O’connell

T I B E T
For centuries, Tibetan mastiffs, large black-and-brown dogs weighing 150 pounds or more, with thick, shaggy coats and tails looped over their backs, have been guarding flocks of sheep owned by native herdsmen in the mountains of Tibet at altitudes of 15,000 feet or higher. Believed to date back more than 3,000 years, the breed is able to work at altitudes other dogs would not survive due to lack of oxygen.

IRELAND
Re-introduction of wolves to Ireland is part of a broad-based forestry plan introduced last fall by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. It calls for a return to natural woodlands from conifer plantations to create a more attractive forest and help the country fulfill its commitment to combating climate change.

ETHIOPIA
Scientists here have been researching an unusual example of interspecies collaboration, the online magazine ZME Science reports. Gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada), which are similar to baboons, appear to be domesticating Ethiopian “wolves” (Canid simensis), more properly called the Simien jackal or Simien fox. The monkeys, which live peaceably in communities of up to 100 individuals, are the only primate species that has a diet consisting mostly of grass. The Ethiopian “wolves” walk peaceably among the monkeys in order to make a meal of the rodents they find among the grazing geladas.

BELGIUM AND THE NETHERLANDS
Four wolves across these neighboring countries went missing last fall. The Guardian reported in October that a collared wolf given the name Naya,
first sighted in the northeast province of Limbourg, Belgium in early 2018 and joined in August of that year by a male, has not been seen since May, 2019 and is feared dead. The first wolf to be seen in Belgium in 100 years, she is believed to have been pregnant.

IRAN
Amir Mahdi Ebrahimi, a member of the Canid Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, studies carnivores, including the wild canids in Iran. He shares good news, when he finds it, of locals working to assist a wolf facing a human-caused predicament. His most recent example is a wolf that fell into a well 18 feet deep in the western part of Iran. A villager contacted officials from the Department of the Environment who were assisted by firefighters in freeing the animal.

Personal Encounter

Biologist’s Life Parallels that of the Wolf He Studies
by Daniel Stahler
Ed. Note: This story is taken from The White Wolf of Yellowstone: Bechler 192 Male, one of many stories in a collection called Wild Wolves We Have Known, which can be purchased at shop.wolf.org.
“One, two, three … four, five,” I recorded into my Dictaphone. A slight aberration of light at the hole beneath a boulder had caught my eye. A litter of four-week-old wolf pups poured out from beneath the rock onto the hard-packed dirt mound, as if a gate had just been opened. They wriggled and
writhed until the first three pups came tumbling down the entrance mound, pushed by their littermates who continued to boil out from the den hole.

A Look Beyond

At a Crossroads—the Red Wolf
by Cornelia Hutt and Kim Wheeler

A long and tragic history
Like wolves everywhere in the lower 48 states, the red wolf was once relentlessly persecuted through unregulated hunting, trapping and government
poisoning campaigns. This shy southeastern native’s drift toward extinction went virtually unnoticed until it was almost too late to save it. But thanks to a few farsighted wildlife managers who embarked on a heroic rescue effort in the early 1960s, Canis rufus was among the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

WildKids

Wolves Use All Their Senses to Find Prey

Wolves are constantly searching their territory for their next meal. Territories can be very large—anywhere from 25 to more than 1,000 square miles in size! How are wolves supposed to find their prey in that huge area? By using their ears, noses and eyes, of course! Visit our Wildkids section.

Book Review

The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone’s Underdog
Book Review by Debra Mitts-Smith
Rick McIntyre spent more than 40 years with the National Park Service, some of it as a wolf researcher and interpreter, first at Denali National Park, then in Glacier National Park and finally, at Yellowstone National Park.
As a researcher he observed and wrote about wolves, creating pages of field notes. As a wolf interpreter he shared his passion, knowledge, insights and
even his viewing scope with tourists, teaching them facts about wolves while discrediting the “Big Bad Wolf” of lore. McIntyre is the author of two previous books, A Society of Wolves: National Parks and the Battle over the Wolf (1993) and War Against the Wolf: America’s Campaign to Exterminate the Wolf (1995). The latter is a collection of documents tracing the history of the wolf in the United States through its policies and laws regarding the wolf.
His most recent book, The Rise of Wolf 8, is the first of a trilogy in which McIntyre draws on his copious field notes based on observations of the first wolves re-introduced to Yellowstone in 1995. Although he acquaints his readers with various Yellowstone packs, his main focus is Wolf 8—the smallest of four male pups born in Alberta in 1994 and transported with their parents, Wolf 4 and Wolf 5, to Yellowstone in 1995, where they became known as the Crystal Creek Pack.