Endangered species day is fast approaching, so I thought I would take us on a trip across the continents over the next few Mondays to look at some of the animals whose lives are in danger or whose hopes of survival have been improving. Ever since those three little pigs and that gal in her red outfit came on the literary scene, wolves have been getting a bad press. Wolves are the largest members of the dog family, and our family pets have evolved from prehistoric wolves. Gray wolves are the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere. You only have to look at the fairy tales to know that men and wolves have long been adversaries, though they almost never attack humans. Why this villainous judgement? They do attack domestic animals, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped, and poisoned because of this tendency. Wolves have been reintroduced in the mountains above Nice, since I have been living here, and sadly there are regular clashes with local shepherds for obvious reasons, despite the wolves being under legal protection.
Did You Know? Wolves can range in color, from pure white in Arctic populations, to brown, gray, cinnamon, black and red.
The grey wolf has been removed from the endangered species list over the last 12 months, due to some wonderful conservation work, in North America in particular. Red wolves live in the southeastern United States, where they are endangered. These animals actually became extinct in the wild in 1980. A breeding program with a small number of captive red wolves was established and the red wolf has been reintroduced to North Carolina. Today, perhaps 100 red wolves survive in the wild.
Let me leave you with some alternative children’s stories about wolves:
Listen to Roald Dahl’s version of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
The Story of the Kind Wolf by Peter Nickl.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieska and Lane Smith
Beware of Storybook Wolves by Lauren Child