Summer 2019

Features


From Red Wolves, Lessons in Resilience
By Kelly Christensen

They looked and acted like red wolves—but red wolves had long ago disappeared from Galveston Island. The quest to identify these “mystery”
canines revealed a surprise: red wolf genes persisted nearly 40 years after
the species was thought to be extinct in that region. The author explains
the process—and the importance—of this discovery.

Softer Skills Can Help Mediate Harsh Conservation Disagreements
By Tracy O’Connell

Francine Madden knows how to reach a collaborative solution, and her approach is bringing civility to discussions between pro and con forces about the future of wolves. Respect, trust-building and listening are her tools, conservation issues her specialty, and focusing on future challenges part of her success. When she steps in, win-win becomes possible. Download full article.

Wolf Watching in Yellowstone: Viewing Versus Habituation
By Doug Smith

The author explores the relationship between wolves and moose in Minnesota, where a declining moose population is not entirely attributable to predators. Minnesota DNR research shows how wolf predation affects those numbers— and how it does not.

My Time with Male 911
by Doug Smith

Yellowstone may be the best place in the world to view free-ranging wolves, but that accessibility has several downsides for humans and for wolves. Problems like overcrowding and habituated wolves are complicated. Doug Smith explains how solutions will require behavior changes by the Park Service, the park visitors and the resident wolves.

 

Departments


From the Executive Director

Thank You, Members and Donors; You Helped Save Michipicoten Wolves
by Rob Schultz

For several years, we have watched in anticipation as significant changes occurred in the wolf population on Isle Royale. Last fall, the National Park Service (NPS) began a three-year project to introduce 20 to 30 wolves to the island. It succeeded with the first wolves that were translocated from northern Minnesota.

International Wolf Center Helps Fund Flights of Six Hungry Wolves to Isle Royale
by Chad Richardson

An urgent effort to translocate seven gray wolves from Michipicoten Island and the Canadian mainland to Isle Royale in March was a major success. On March 22 and 23, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, along with the National Park Service, successfully moved six gray wolves from Michipicoten that were at risk of starving because of insufficient prey.

New Discover Wolves! Exhibit Opened in May
by Chad Richardson

By the time this magazine arrives in your mailbox, an extraordinary new exhibit will be waiting for you at the International Wolf Center in Ely. This stunning, immersive experience—Discover Wolves!—was installed in April and opened in May.

Tracking the Pack

Taking the Lead—Pack Life After Aidan
by Lori Schmidt, wolf curator, International Wolf Center

In July 2018, after a winter of testing and confrontations from younger pack members that reduced his confidence, we moved Aidan, the Exhibit Pack leader, to the retirement enclosure. This is a summary of what we know about how pack dynamics may develop in his absence.

Member Profile

Christina Rizzo—Loving the Pack and Participation at the International Wolf Center
by Susan Ricci

Having loved animals since she was a child, Christina Rizzo pursued a pre-veterinary program in college—but after graduation, she decided to serve her country and enlisted in the United States Air Force. Prior to leaving for basic training, she married her high school sweetheart, Vincent, who also enlisted in the military. They soon found themselves stationed in England without their beloved pets.

WildKids

What big teeth you have!

The teeth and jaws of adult gray wolves are well suited to their diet and hunting methods. Over 90 percent of gray wolves’ diet is meat, so they must hunt live prey or eat from a carcass. Adult gray wolves have 42 teeth. Adult humans have only 32. Wolves have several types of teeth that serve different purposes while hunting or eating. These teeth include incisors, canines, carnassial and molars.

Incisors are in the front of the mouth. They are mostly used for biting off small pieces of meat. Canine teeth can be 2.5 inches long, with half the tooth rooted in the jawbone. They are used to puncture and grip their prey. Carnassial teeth are further back in the mouth. The top carnassial teeth hang slightly over the bottom carnassials. This allows them to glide past the bottom teeth in a scissor-like motion. They are extremely sharp so they can sheer meat away from bones. Molars are used for grinding and crushing meat.  Visit our Wildkids section.

Wolves of the World

Wolves Claimed, Named, Admired, Tolerated, Relocated
by Tracy O’connell

ESTONIA

The wolf has been named the national animal of this country tucked between Finland and the Baltic Sea. According to estonianworld.com, the canid beat competition that included the beaver, badger, fox, hedgehog
and roe deer in a contest to earn the title. Several organizations such as the Estonian Nature Society, the Estonian
Natural History Museum and the Tallinn Zoo participated in the vote.

INDIA

Wolves exist in 86 percent of the district of Koppal, located in southwest India, in the state of Karnataka. Here shepherds show a high tolerance for the predator. According to an article in the online news source thehindu.com, “The wolves of Koppal are intertwined in cultural lore.”

ISLE ROYALE

By March, 15 wolves had been moved to Isle Royale, a U.S. National Park located in Michigan’s Lake Superior waters. Included in those 15 were six wolves urgently translocated this spring from Michipicoten, another Lake Superior island, where they may have starved after their chief prey, caribou, were translocated last year to two other islands to preserve dwindling numbers. The other wolves came from public lands in Canada and Minnesota.

CANADIAN NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

The bounty paid by the territorial government for wolf pelts in a designated area doubled last winter under a pilot project called the Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest, which encouraged wolf hunting to protect the barren-ground caribou herds. Last summer the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, a group of about 50 Canadian scientists, declared these caribou threatened. The pilot program affects hunting around Wekweeti; rewards may exceed $1,600 per kill. Prices vary depending on the quality and preservation of the pelt.

NORWAY
Wolf opponents faced off against wolf supporters in a series of actions here that have been called “tragicomic,” “unreasonably bitter” and “blown out of proportion,” according to the online NewsinEnglish.com. Thousands turned out for late January events around the country to support the nation’s 60 surviving wolves after a demonstration held days earlier brought together farmers afraid for their flocks, rural residents fearful for their safety, and landowners who want to sell hunting rights to those who would hunt wolves. Both sides are angry at the government, which is authorizing the killing of too many or too few wolves—depending on whom you ask.

Personal Encounter

Wolf 7271 and the “Wink of the Wild”
by Shannon Barber-Meyer

It is early October, and I have just returned from helping with Isle Royale wolf translocations, eager to find out how “my” wolves are doing back home in northeastern Minnesota…

October 4, 2018—The plane lifts off the choppy, slate-colored waters as a thick carpet of autumn rolls out before me. Static scolds my ears as I begin tuning the receiver for my weekly radiotelemetry flight. I look over at the pilot and remark, “I really hope they’re all alive. I don’t have time for any necropsies this week, with the International Wolf Center symposium coming up.”

A Look Beyond

California ready to “embrace the challenges that lie ahead” with the return of wolves
by Charlton H. BonhamThe return of gray wolves to California after nearly 100 years is an ecological success. At its core, this success is about the resiliency of nature and an animal returning to its historic habitat in the northern reaches of the Golden State. It was a matter of when, not if, wolves would return and roam the land. But figuring out and preparing for that “when” was a challenging task, because the most successful efforts always prepare for how people and communities will respond to nature’s changes.

Book Review

The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack
Book review by Nancy jo Tubbs

Jim and Jamie Dutcher’s 2018 book offers an introduction to an adventure unique to nearly all of us. For six years the couple intimately documented their experience living in an evolving “wolf camp” with a socialized pack of captive wolves. The authors’ “little patch of tents, platforms and fencing” gave the duo, working as Dutcher Film Productions, a unique way to film and sound-record the wolves they raised and dubbed the Sawtooth Pack.