The Monthly Free E-Newsletter of South African Friends of Wolves
Volume 12, Issue 150, April 2017
From the Editor’s Desk
The time of Happy Easter, and the occasion of our 150th newsletter or not: I am fuming so much that steam seems to come from my ears. And of course it’s the United States once more, who else. But even I am surprised what anti-nature terrorists can come up with when they are let loose. While the clown’s “Climate protection, No thanks” will certainly backfire sooner rather than later and hit those responsible for once, wildlife in the US faces the bleakest future ever. Read for yourself what appalling ideas the states of Alaska (News) and Oregon (Wolves and Wolfdogs section) have come up with, besides of the rest. In fact, I recommend you study these summaries not before tomorrow if you wish to enjoy a Happy Easter today.
Till next month, hopefully with better news, but I am almost sure I’ll be disappointed,
You are invited by the International Wolf Center (firstname.lastname@example.org)
to the 4th Howl at the Moon Gala
An Event to support the International Wolf Center’s Mission.
Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM CDT
Program: Social Hour, Silent Auction, Dinner, Program and Live Action
Midland Hills Country Club
2001 Fulham Street
Roseville, MN 55113, USA
International Wolf Center
763-560-7374 ext. 230
Say Yes to New Adventures!
International Wolf Center’s Adventure Programs
Turn your vacation into a one-of-a-kind wilderness experience. The International Wolf Center offers a variety of Adventure Programs led by informative and enthusiastic wolf experts for people of all ages. Visit our website for a complete list of adventure programs:
Geocache Adventures In Wolf Range
June 10 – 11
Test your backcountry navigational skills while you discover the worldwide scavenger hunt pastime known as geocaching!
Learn more here.
Wolves After Dark
June 30 – July 1
Here’s your opportunity to participate in a “Citizen Science” project and document important behavioural data critical to understanding the Exhibit Pack dynamics.
Learn more here.
Webinar rate: $15 Non-members, $12 Members
News from the Wolf Front
Nothing to report
From Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org)
- USA: Alaska: A tragic day for wolves
Another heartbreaking day.
The U.S. Senate has joined the House and voted to clear the way for the state of Alaska to authorize extreme killing methods such as shooting mother bears with cubs and killing wolves with pups on public lands that belong to all of us.
This is a disgraceful setback for wolves and other wildlife you love.
Help us fight for these imperilled predators with your urgent donation today: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=DW6WOIoimhlZ_2NyNyWN7Q
Not even a year has passed since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued regulations to prevent Alaska’s excessive attacks on predators on national wildlife refuges. But in this extreme anti-wildlife environment, wolves, bears and other wildlife we love…have lost.
Congress used an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act to nullify the FWS protections. And it shows there are no depths these people will not go to green light the most appalling anti-wildlife acts. Further, discarding this rule could slam the door on future regulations that aim to conserve these animals on refuge lands.
Help us fight for the wildlife we all love: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=omfyR6vKZtobxjlPhQXdHw
Now Alaska national wildlife refuges could be open for the state to allow:
- Killing wolves and pups during the spring and summer “denning” season;
- Gunning down mother bears and their cubs;
- Baiting and snaring bears and their cubs; and
- Using airplanes to scout and shoot bears.
And why? To artificially inflate populations of game animals for hunting.
We will never give up this fight. Your urgent donation today will make a difference: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=-t2Rv8MMOwVfcaeArviKvA
Thanks for your help.
From SOS Wolves
USA: Montana: Well-known Wolf severely injured and Killed in Park
HEARTBREAKING NEWS: The grand old “White Lady” of the Yellowstone Canyon wolf family has died. She suffered fatal injuries near Gardiner, Montana, from a cause yet unknown. This magnificent wolf brought excitement and joy to countless park visitors over her 12 years. Her long-time mate (712M) lives on – heartbroken beyond our comprehension.
From Wolf Conservation Center (email@example.com)
- USA: Senate Votes to Allow Killing of Wolves on National Refuge Lands in Alaska
The Senate passed S.J. RES. 18 by a vote of 51 to 47 to allow the killing of denning wolves and pups, hibernating bears, and other predators on national refuges land in Alaska
Alaska’s unethical predator hunting has been a flash point in a growing battle between state and federal officials over who has authority over federal lands. On August 3, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took a big positive step and joined its sister-agency, the National Park Service, in finalizing regulations for national wildlife refuges in Alaska that effectively overruled an Alaska state law that encouraged the extreme and excessive killing of bears, wolves and coyotes to promote game animals.
In passing S.J. RES. 18, the Senate joined the House and voted to nullify this important rule and allow cruel and inhumane wildlife management practices on Alaska’s wildlife refuges.
These lands are OUR lands, not Alaska’s. As long as our collective tax dollars help to support them, we, through our representatives, have every right to speak on behalf of science-based management.
We will not give up.
The greatest danger to the future of wolves and all wildlife is apathy. As always, we appreciate your help and active support.
2. You Heard Our Howls!
You did it! Last week we invited you to be a part of #LoboWeek and you heard our howls! Over 300 supporters helped the WCC raise over $20,000 on Wednesday to meet our matching grant of $10,000! We are humbled by your support and incredibly grateful for having friends like you.
Thanks again for your encouragement and your commitment to wolves, ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!
- A March for Science is a March for Wolves
March with us on April 22!
This Earth Day on April 22nd, the Wolf Conservation Center (http://nywolf.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=96aae4d71726eb91ae4d20fec&id=e09963d1d1&e=c4f881378d) will be participating in the March for Science in New York City (http://nywolf.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=96aae4d71726eb91ae4d20fec&id=5c512ba009&e=c4f881378d)!
This Earth Day, we will march on behalf of wolves, wildlife, wild lands and water. We will march for the Endangered Species Act. We will march for our children. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges. If we allow science to be silenced, we fail ourselves – now and for future generations.
Want to march with the WCC? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where: Central Park West heading south in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. More details to be announced.
- When: Kick off Time is 11AM
- Rules/Restrictions: To be announced.
- March Posters: Download posters (18 x 24 inch) for the march here: http://nywolf.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=96aae4d71726eb91ae4d20fec&id=09bbde8ddf&e=c4f881378d
- March Prep Meet-up: Stop by the Wolf Conservation Center to pick up a poster, plan your trip, and howl with the wolves on April 20, between 6pm – 7:30pm. RSVP HERE: mailto:email@example.com
The official Science March organizers have yet announce location and other details. We’ll be updating partners with more information as soon as it’s available. Not able to get to NYC? Learn about the other 480 Satellite Marches: http://nywolf.us8.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=96aae4d71726eb91ae4d20fec&id=e2107dd0a7&e=c4f881378d
From ForceChange (TakeAction@ForceChange.com)
Stop the Massacre of Bears and Wolves in Slovenia
Target: Irena Majcen, Minister of the Environment
Goal: Prevent Slovenia from allowing hunters to kill 93 bears and 8 wolves this year.
The Government of Slovenia announced that it will allow hunters to kill a certain number of bears and wolves throughout the year. This includes eight wolves out of the mere 50 that currently live in Slovenia, as well as over 90 bears. Around 500 bears currently live in the forests of Slovenia.
People who live near the forests often complain about the damage done to their farm animals and crops as a result of the wolves and bears. However, killing the wolves will force packs to break up and will ultimately lead to more attacks on the livestock. This happens because wolves don’t hunt deer as effectively on their own and are then forced to pursue killing other animals to survive — as proven by research from the EU-funded SloWolf project. Last year, hunters killed 83 bears and four wolves. And in 2010, they killed 75 bears and 12 wolves.
In addition, this announcement follows the building of a barbed wire fence in Slovenia that was constructed to secure its borders from migrants. Wildlife is already in danger of being killed as a result of this fence being built. The fence on its own is inhumane and it is unnecessary to allow hunters to increase the number of deaths already occurring.
It is clear that the hunting lobby holds a large influence over the Slovenian government. With fewer than 50 wolves in their country, there is no real justification as to why these wolves need to be killed. Sign the petition below to help protect the wolves and bears from the hunters in Slovenia.
Dear Irena Majcen,
Allowing hunters to kill off a certain number of wolves and bears that currently live in Slovenia is inhumane and unjustified. There are only 50 wolves remaining in Slovenia. You should instead be working toward keeping them safe.
The people who are complaining about their livestock being killed do not realize that killing the wolves will not solve the issue. When wolves are killed, packs are forced to split up and wolves are more likely to hunt livestock as they aren’t as capable of catching deer on their own. Allowing hunters to kill them off is not a solution. It is just cruel and inhumane.
We highly encourage you to reconsider the decision that has been made in regards to the killing of wolves and bears in your country.
[Your Name Here]
Sign the petition here: https://forcechange.com/196236/stop-the-killing-of-slovenias-bears-and-wolves/
From Change.org (www.change.org)
Urgent Cry for Help from Switzerland: Wolf Odin is to be shot dead
There is no concrete news about Pumpak besides of a trace that could possibly point to him having moved to North Rhineland Westphalia; we are currently busy checking that out.
Now Odin in Switzerland needs your help. This wolf is to be shot dead, just like Pumpak. This decision was made in the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden and is valid for 60 days. Time is running out again.
In the case of Pumpak, we were successful in preventing the authorization from being extended. Without the pressure by the now almost 100,000 supporters, this would surely have ended differently. Please, give us your support in Odin’s case, too, and sign the petition of wolf conservationist Elisabeth Barbara Sigron. She keeps livestock in Switzerland, but protects them from wolf attacks and is a dedicated conservation activist of wolves in Switzerland.
She writes: “Wolf ‘Odin’, M75, must live! Innocently sentenced to death without any proof of him being guilty!”
Please help Odin to save his most valuable possession – his life. Wolves are in many ways so similar to humans; they too form families and care for their loved ones. Wolves did not die out but had almost been brought to extinction in Europe by humans. Now it is time to make up for it, it’s pay-back time, because wolves are good for forests and Nature.
Switzerland is home to just 25 to 30 wolves, although there would be much more space in this fantastic country for more of them. Since 2000, seventeen wolf-shootings were authorized and nine of these were executed. Nature conservation organizations in Switzerland protest against these authorized killings, and just recently a court confirmed that the authorized shootings of two young wolves of the Calanda pack had been illegal. Whoever has an interest in the background of wolves in Switzerland can find information in the report of Ralf Manz of the WWF, and although it is already a bit dated it still illustrates the exact problem. You can find it here: https://assets.wwf.ch/downloads/europameisterin_im_wolfe_abschiessen_def_wwf_homepage.pdf
Besides of that it is impossible to ensure that it will indeed be Odin when the deadly shot hits its target. How can the shooter distinguish this one wolf from all the others?
This petition runs, like Pumpak’s, through www.Change.org, which is a non-profit organization that has accomplished a lot this year already. Maybe the one or other of you wants to make a donation to them?
IBAN: DE75 4306 0967 1195 8791 00
Thanks for your help
From SanWild Wildlife Trust (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another survivor saved
Thanks to you – Nellie is safe
We are absolutely delighted to share the wonderful news that Nellie has been successfully relocated to an Intensive Protection Zone where she and other rhino poaching survivors and those rescued from trophy hunting can hopefully once again learn to trust and not fear man.
With this video clip (http://sanwild.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4aca35f79df37c30916dbe17d&id=fc680a7662&e=8c3dc58a76), we would like to honour those of you who helped spread the word and raise the funds needed to rescue Nellie. As a sign of our appreciation we listed each and every donor’s name at the end of Nellie’s documentary.
Our work does not end here.
To keep our rescued rhinos safe and protected is an ongoing mission that we can only successfully execute with your continued involvement.
We need your help once again to guarantee the safety of the animals we rescued with your help.
It is no secret that rhinos are under serious threat. The question we need to ask is what can we do to help save them with the overwhelming odds that are stacked against them?
We know we must make it as difficult as possible for poachers to get to rhinos if they intend to kill them. When they dare to attempt to do so they must be made to understand that there are some that will fight fire with fire if the need arises. Our mission and objectives are to keep rhinos alive and safe and therefore whatever measures we do put in place must be preventative instead of reactive.
We must make it as difficult as possible for poachers to get to rhinos.
Find the video clip here: https://vimeo.com/209162674
From Care2 Action Alerts (email@example.com)
Send Gracie the rhino to a sanctuary before it’s too late
For too long, we’ve watched trophy hunters mercilessly kill animals in the wild. But a couple weeks ago, they brought the hunt much closer to home — at the zoo.
Poachers broke into the Thoiry Zoo in France overnight and mercilessly shot Vince, the 4-year-old white rhino, in the head. They sawed off his horn and were interrupted before they sawed the second horn off. Now the remaining white rhinos at the zoo are in danger: http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AxQmu/zSPc/GeQa
Vince never had a chance against the poachers, since he was trapped in an enclosure. The zoo’s security is clearly no match for poachers’ greed: one of these white rhino horns can sell for over $200,000 on the black market.
Gracie and Bruno, the other white rhinos at the Thoiry Zoo, are targets. It’s time the zoo moved them to a wildlife sanctuary.
Just 20,000 white rhinos remain today. Gracie and Bruno should live the rest of their lives in unthreatened peace.
You can help prevent another tragedy. Please sign your name and urge the Thoiry Zoo to release Gracie and Bruno to a reputable wildlife sanctuary:
Thank you for making a difference,
From Faye Cuevas, International Fund for Animal Welfare (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Who could shoot a tiger cub in the face? A poacher, that’s who
A tiger cub in Russia was shot in the face by a poacher – now he needs you.
Little “Yarik” is recovering from his wounds at the PRNCO Tiger Center in Russia where IFAW supports the rescue, care, and release of highly endangered Amur tigers.
He needs round-the-clock attention if he’s going to survive and one day be released back to the wild.
You can make the difference between life and death for Yarik and injured animals like him.
Yarik spent weeks in intensive care. He’s on the mend, but still has a long way to go. Besides his injured eye, he has broken bones in his jaw and needs constant veterinary care.
At just 5-7 months young, he would still be with his mother in the wild. But now he’s relying on the Tiger Center, and you, for the care and guardianship his mother would have provided.
There are only about 500 Amur tigers remaining, so every cub matters to the survival of the species. But that doesn’t matter to poachers, who only see potential dollar signs in the tiger pelts and organs that they can sell for profits on the illegal wildlife market.
We must save every Amur tiger we can! The cub we can’t save could be the one that seals their extinction.
Thank you for caring
From ForceChange (TakeAction@ForceChange.com)
USA: Family Dog Killed by Government Cyanide Trap – Demand End to Practice
Target: Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Stop using deadly coyote “cyanide bombs” which killed a family dog.
A boy and his dog, Casey, were walking near their home in Idaho when they discovered an object sticking out of the ground that resembled a sprinkler. After getting close enough to investigate it and see what it was, the object exploded and orange powder shot out.
The object was actually an M44 — a cyanide trap that is set out by the U.S. government to kill coyotes. When the trap was set off, the boy noticed his dog on the ground with red froth coming from the dog’s mouth, and ran to find his parents for help. By the time they returned, the dog had already died. The family had no idea these devices had been placed so close to their home.
Casey is one of many animals killed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s program, Wildlife Services, every year. They are placed by the USDA to make room for human industries like raising livestock. Over 3,400 animals were mistakenly killed between 2006 and 2012 by cyanide bombs — including dogs, black bears, foxes, raccoons and more. This doesn’t include the number of coyotes that are killed as a result of being the target of these devices.
The USDA should end their usage of these devices and make it their goal to find non-lethal ways of getting their work done. It is the only appropriate way to ensure this doesn’t continue to happen to more animals and that more families don’t have to endure losing their pet this way. Sign the petition below to demand these changes be made.
Dear Sonny Perdue,
The family who just recently lost their dog as a result of a government placed cyanide trap near their house deserves an apology from you and those at Wildlife Services. Not only that, but it is time to stop using these inhumane devices and to find a non-lethal way of getting work done.
Cyanide bombs have mistakenly killed thousands of animals, including this family’s pet. These include black bears, raccoons, foxes and more. This is all in addition to the large numbers of coyotes that are killed as a result of being the primary target for these devices.
Wildlife Services should be aiming to protect these and all animals. Instead, you are killing both wild animals and family pets. We encourage and ask you to stop using these devices as soon as possible.
Sign the petition here: https://forcechange.com/201623/justice-for-dog-killed-by-cyanide-trap/
From Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org)
Which of these photos are your favourites?
In February, we kicked off our 8th annual Defenders of Wildlife Photo Contest – and once again we were amazed by the response! Wildlife shutterbugs submitted hundreds of amazing photos in two categories: Wildlife and Wild Lands. We continue to be astonished by the beauty, creativity and professionalism of the photos submitted every year and this year has been no exception.
After a very difficult and painstaking review, we have narrowed the entries down to just 10 spectacular finalists.
Now we need your help to pick the winners: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=wT-mpu6MpUdBF5jIetzW9w
Vote today to select the winners (http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=OkO35ec3Z9e0yVfP9JlYqA) of a wide range of prizes, including the grand prize: a $1,000 gift certificate to B&H Photo Video.
The winners will be featured in the summer edition of Defenders, our quarterly publication for members.
Please take a moment to see the stunning finalist photos and vote for your favourites: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=f8zHLEKkqppRWrY7OZvHsA
Voting ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, April 16th, so hurry and get your picks in today! The winners will be announced at the end of the month.
Thanks to everyone who entered – photos like yours help us inspire and educate others about the importance of our wildlife and wild places!
Wolves and Wolfdogs
Wolves in Oregon: Lessons from a dead wolf: the barbaric death of OR48
The woods of northeast Oregon are home to the Wallowa County’s Shamrock pack, a small pack consisting of only 6 members – OR48 was one of them. Last week the two-year old OR48 was wandering about, most likely in search of a mate, a territory of his own, and a chance to boost the still small Grey wolf population of the state of Oregon. But these plans shattered when he found a sweet-smelling device and bit into it and his bite released cyanide poison into his mouth, causing this young, healthy wolf to essentially suffocate, dying a painfully barbaric death initiated by an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services.
Each year this secretive program kills millions of animals across the country, but only too often the animals that die aren’t those being targeted. In the case of OR48 the M-44 capsule had been placed to hopefully kill a coyote on private property, but it could have easily killed someone’s pet (http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/03/labrador_killed_by_cyanide_dev.html) or a raccoon or a fox instead, as it was the case in Idaho where a three-year-old Labrador retriever died and a 14-year old boy was knocked to the ground when a cyanide device deployed by the federal government exploded in Pocatello, Idaho. The Idaho State Journal (http://idahostatejournal.com/news/local/pocatello-boy-watches-family-dog-die-after-cyanide-bomb-explodes/article_d0003a2f-6b7f-5d31-b427-68db03d3b93a.html) reported the boy, who had been on a walk with his dog on a ridge near their home, watched his dog die. According to the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, the boy was also “covered in an unknown substance” when the device known as an M-44 detonated. He was evaluated at a hospital and released; luckily he survived.
This time it happened to be OR48.
For Amaroq Weiss, a West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity who has studied wolves for the past 20 years, the loss of such an animal, especially one that was just ready to mate, is a tragedy.
Any animal or human being tugging on an M-44 will be met with a deadly spray of cyanide, because these archaic devices are dangerous and kill indiscriminately. In the past five years, thousands of non-target animals have been killed by M-44s. But what is even more outrages is the fact that the state agency that manages Oregon’s wolves knows the risks. Until wolves were prematurely delisted from the state endangered species act, the agency had a written agreement with Wildlife Services that expressly prohibited the use of M-44’s in known wolf territories, but now the situation has changed.
But regardless of all this there is still a glimpse of hope; Oregon could stop contracting with Wildlife Services altogether. Budget recommendations from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown omit the roughly $900,000 usually dedicated to paying the federal agency for killing Oregon animals. That is a move into the right direction, because scientific research shows that lethal methods for controlling predators repeatedly backfire. When coyotes are killed, others ratchet up reproduction to make up for the losses, and when dominant cougars and wolves are killed, their territory is often opened up for younger, less-experienced animals that may prey on livestock because they are not yet efficient at killing elk or deer.
Unfortunately to Nature Wildlife Services is a rogue agency that often acts rather in the interests of ranchers and other private landowners instead of wildlife, wiping out thousands of large predators. And there is no method too dirty to be employed, may it be aerial gunners, bone-snapping traps and, still, exploding cyanide capsules. These killings are often carried out just beyond public view, and the taxpayers are footing the bill.
The death of OR48 is another very painful and public reminder that there is no end to this terrible work, and it’s long past time for Oregon to stop hiring Wildlife Services for its ineffective and brutal predator controls.
Original article from Amaroq Weiss http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/lessons_from_a_dead_wolf_orego.html
Amaroq Weiss is a California-based biologist and West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 137
The Ones Who Remained
by Wind Cloud
Some of you have left your kind, Some of you have betrayed us, You thought you were earning a better life, But all you do is grow weaker…
It was a time when the Earth was still young and the gray wolves in Alaska had just begun to notice a change in their world. Loud, two-legged animals were appearing from the land across the ocean, and the wolves were sparked into curiosity. They soon lost this feeling, however. Every time the wolves approached them, the two-legged animals would shoo them away, making odd noises and brandishing sticks and tusks. Thus the wolves learned to avoid the two-legged creatures, and sometimes to fear them.
Little One, an adult male wolf, and his pack were eating well one summer. The caribou were amazingly abundant, and moose could be found at nearly every river. The alpha female, Soaked Paws, had already given birth, and all of the other seven pack members were eagerly finding food for her. The alpha male, Owl Chaser, rallied them together every night to hunt, calling them to him with low wails and high squeaks. The pack sang, then went off to hunt. Little One, as the omega male, trailed along at the back of the pack.
Little One was especially curious about the two-legged animals. He saw a herd of them as Owl Chaser led him and the pack out of the forest and onto a bare plain, which was covered in short, twisted grass. He wanted to venture just a little closer to the two-legs, but Owl Chaser made the pack keep a quick pace. His mate had hungry pups. There was no time for curiosity towards the two-legs. He gave Little One a sharp growl and led the wolves onward.
A caribou was caught, and the wolves ate well from it. Owl Chaser then led them back to the den, carrying a slice of meat in his mouth. He placed it at the mouth of the den, and Soaked Paws snatched it up gratefully.
That day, as the sun began to rise, the pack lay down to rest, all but Little One. With a glance at his dozing family, he stood silently and crept towards a nearby camp of two-legs. From the safety of the trees he could see them, milling around and making weird noises. There was no malice or hunger in his eyes, only innocent curiosity. He would be ready to flee at any moment if the two-legs spotted him. None of them did, and he ventured still closer.
The two-legs were packing their things–animal hides, spears, food, etc.–onto a sledge of bone and hide, on which their cubs sat. A few male two-legs were holding ropes with which to pull the sledge. When all their supplies were aboard, they started off quickly. The majority of the herd trailed behind the sledge.
Little One silently followed, his curiosity mounting and his fear ever present. When he became a bit too hasty in his excitement to follow and strayed within viewing range of the two-legs, they shouted at him. With wide eyes he stopped in his tracks and sped the opposite way from the two-legs. He did not stop until he was back where he had left his pack. Owl Chaser did not wonder where he had been; it was customary for the omega to run off sometimes. When the whole pack had woken, they rallied and sang, then went off to hunt.
Just like the day before.
Little One lived with his pack on the plain for a long time, but never lost his curiosity of the two-legs. One day a new herd of them was traveling through the wolves’ territory, and when dusk settled Little One went to investigate.
Some two-leg cubs were frolicking around a campfire in the presence of a few adults. Little One watched them for a time, then became bored. As he went off to find his pack one of the two-leg cubs strayed into the forest nearby. Little One became rock-still. The child’s parents would probably come after it.
But they didn’t.
Little One watched the cub, amused, his tail swaying. The cub was holding a stick in its fat little hands, chewing it. Little One approached, and the child did not look afraid. It pointed at him and laughed. Startled, the wolf backed up a few paces, his eyebrows twitching. The child got on its hands and knees and imitated a wolf, crawling around, then sat down and looked at Little One. The wolf was highly amused, and decided to take a poke at the two-leg cub. Slowly he meandered closer until his cool, moist nose met the child’s forehead. He sniffed, and the cub laughed. He became even more startled, and dashed away into the shadows of the forest.
Little One kept returning to the same camp day after day. None of the adult two-legs chased him off even though they knew he was there, and did not seem concerned in the least by his presence. Finally Little One decided to take the food they kept offering him. It was raw, and just as good as anything he could catch himself. He was eating from an array of meat on the ground that the two-legs had offered, when he noticed something. Another wolf was nearby, sitting close to one of the adult two-legs, who was watching it. Little One looked at the other wolf, whose name was Wind Feather, and cocked his head. Wind Feather wagged his tail, but kept a watchful eye on the two-legs.
Little One and Wind Feather were soon eating from the two-leg’s hands, and allowed themselves to be touched. They found that eating from the two-legs was much easier than hunting the food themselves, and that they had a much higher chance of surviving. Little One had not abandoned his pack completely; he still ran with them and hunted with them. Yet he felt himself becoming less needy of them. He would live well with the two-legs.
Yes, he surely would…
As summer faded away and the snows of winter hardened on Alaska, the caribou became scarce and rodents were impossible to find. Many of the two-legs starved or froze to death, as did many wolves. Little One was sleeping in camp one day when he heard a shrill yelp and the shout of the two-legs. He opened his eyes to see Wind Feather struggling, a rope around his throat, and many adult two-legs plunging their spears into him. Wind Feather bit and snapped, but the two-legs would not relent. The wolf was the only food they could find.
In shock Little One stood and fled the camp, his heart beating fast. His tongue was soon hanging from his mouth, and he was sprinting as fast as a caribou. He closed the gap between his pack and himself.
He found Owl Chaser, Soaked Paws, and five of the original pack members. The three of Soaked Paws’ pups were now full-sized adults, and they faithfully followed their parents as the pack travelled south. Little One caught up with them and ran with them once more. He would never trust the two-legs again. They only wanted him because of what he could do for them. He, too, would probably have ended up in their stomachs. A free meal was not enough to live with them for, not if he would live only as long as they let him.
As he ran with his pack he lost his horror and confusion. Soaked Paws began a game of “catch-my-tail” as the wolf family came to a rest site. They milled around in the dimness of the winter sky, finally beginning to howl. They sang of their freedom and their wildness as the sun disappeared below the horizon for the winter.
A Wolfdog Diary
Nothing special to report this month, but…
Will be continued…