They may look a bit like a husky, but these powerful predators are a far cry from their domesticated cousins.
They may look quite a bit like a German shepherd or a husky, but these powerful predators are a far cry from their domesticated cousins. On this Wildlife Wednesday, let’s have a howling good (and punny) time learning about grey wolves.
Grey wolves can most often be seen loping across their territories in northern Canada and the US, as well as northern Russia and China. They are, however, occasionally spotted throughout Europe and Asia.
- Grey wolves are the world’s largest wild dog species; males measure more than 6 ft (2 m) from whiskers to tail and weigh as much as 130 lb (60 kg), while females are a bit smaller.
- These highly social animals live in packs of up to 30 animals. Packs are generally formed of a dominant male and female, their pups, and last year’s offspring.
- Unlike your neighbour’s annoying Chihuahua, grey wolves very rarely bark. Instead, they tend to howl, whine, and growl to communicate vocally.
- Howling in particular is a useful tool—it’s generally used for long-distance communication between pack members, as a method to warn other packs away, and for social bonding.
Why are they threatened?
Actually, they’re not, happily enough. According to the IUCN, grey wolf populations are stable thanks to legal protection, land use changes, and the increasing number of people living in urban centres.
However, while they may not be threatened, that doesn’t mean they aren’t facing any threats. Anger from farmers because of the threat they pose to livestock is one major concern, most often in developing countries, as are habitat fragmentation and resistance from locals due to misunderstandings about the dangers that wolves cause.