Around the World in 50 weeks – Wolves

Grey wolves once populated large portions of North America, Europe, and Asia, but were hunted to near extinction. Their numbers have rebounded due to conservation and reintroduction efforts.

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.

Red Wolf Pups

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.

Red Wolf Recovery Program

Red Wolf Coalition

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

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11 Responses to Around the World in 50 weeks – Wolves

  1. A beautiful post Joanna. Had not realised there were so many colours of wolves. Loved the resources. Kids will certainly get a kick out of reading the books you have suggested and learn more about the wildlife around us.

  2. Joanna says:

    I really like the red ones, Diane, and find their facial features very cute!

  3. I have watched documentaries about wolves, and their social structure is fascinating. They are doing what they were put on earth for. We are the interlopers. Somehow there has to be a way to co-exist.

  4. Leslie Rose says:

    I was thrilled when friends of mine came back from Yellowstone with pictures of wolves and their pups. They were lucky enough to spot them off in the distance. Hooray for the program to bring these animals back to their wild habitat.

  5. What an interesting post Joanna. I may have seen the same video documentary Beth saw, or a similar one. Each animal serves a role and I’m really glad for conservations like the one in the south are successful. Enjoyed looking at the recovery programs for wolves. Nice suggestions of books for additional reading.

  6. Joanna says:

    They have a fascinating social protocol and are a very caring community, Pat.

  7. clarbojahn says:

    Loved this post about wolves. They are a fascinating species, indeed. My daughter in law who is a biologist uses the wolf head as her gravatar in facebook as she has always loved them. I arrived here from your new signature and have changed mine as a first attempt at marketing more for my book “Annie’s Special Day:” Thanks, Joanna. 🙂

  8. Joanna says:

    I have seen them up fairly close here in our local national park, the Mercantour. I am glad you are using the idea of the signature banner. I think Maja did such a splendid job of this!

  9. I love wolves – one of my dogs looks like she’s part wolf (although she doesn’t act like it AT ALL!) My daughter’s school has a teaching zoo and they just had a litter of red wolf pups on May 2 – so tiny and sweet. Although they are in captivity, they live pretty wild – big natural enclosure, limited human contact – but sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the babies on the video feed 🙂 I find wolves fascinating because of their sophisticated social structure. Also, they’re beautiful 🙂

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