NATIONAL WOLF AWARENESS WEEK
The wolf pack will howl the third week in October. That is the week every year marked as the official National Wolf Awareness Week. It’s a week to celebrate their unique place in the animal kingdom, and learn more about their threatened place in the natural world today. During National Wolf Awareness Week, you may see more information about threats to their survival, and what you can do to help wolves stay protected.
Wolves, Food Chain, and the Ecosystem
Although they play an important role in our ecosystems, wolves were nearly eliminated due to predator control programs. Wolves have been slowly returning to some parts of their native habitats. Gray wolves roam many European and American landscapes, where they can prey on large and small animals such as elk and moose, rats and mice.
A century ago, gray wolves were widely distributed in the northern hemisphere. The North American gray wolf population in 1600 was 2 million. However, today the population in North America is approximately 65,000. In fact, wolves were the first animals to be placed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act list in 1973.
Wolves are called “apex predator.” That means they are at or near the top of the list of predators. Only tigers and humans threaten them. They are the largest members of the dog family and hunt in very sophisticated packs. Additionally, these predators are considered one of the best animal communicators using body language. They also make popular mascots.
Wolves and cattle producers do not get along. Cattle are often on a wolf’s menu. Research has found that a cow that has witnessed harassment from a wolf will remember it and will become physically fearful if even a dog comes near it.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WolfAwarenessWeek
Learn more about wolves from the International Wolf Center.
Read about the preservation work at Wolf Conservation Center.
If you are interested in helping preserve the wolf population, you may want to check the Defender’s website.
Follow the week on social media by using #NationalWolfAwarenessWeek, or #WolfAwarenessWeek.
NATIONAL WOLF AWARENESS WEEK HISTORY
Wolf Awareness Week became a national event in 1996. Since that time, Governors from more than half the U.S. states have proclaimed the third week of October as Wolf Awareness Week.
- Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood to take on the wolf’s spirit in battle. They also viewed real wolves as battle companions or “corpse trolls.”
- Wolves don’t make good guard dogs. Since they’re naturally afraid of the unfamiliar, they will hide from visitors rather than bark at them
- Like fingerprints, wolves’ howls are distinctive. Other pack members use them to recognize each other.
- The gray, the red and the Ethiopian are the three different species of wolves in the world.
- Only the gray wolf and red wolf are found in North America.
- Gray wolves can be white, tan, black, brown or grizzled (a combination of browns, tans, and black).
- The red wolf lives in the southeastern regions of the U.S. Until 1987, it was considered extinct. Then a breeding program brought them back. Today, about 100 red wolves live in the wild.
- Wolves live and hunt in packs of about four to ten.
- Wolves can smell other animals more than one mile away.
- The hunting ground of a wolf can be quite large. They can roam up to 50 miles in a single day.
- Some cultures have attempted to domesticate the wolf. However, it can be costly to feed one since they can eat 20 pounds of red meat in one sitting.
- In North America, gray wolf pups are born during April, May and the first week of June.
- While a wolf pup’s eyes are blue at birth, their eyes turn yellow by the time they are eight months old.
- Adult gray wolves range from 40 to 175 pounds (females weigh just slightly less than males).
- Wolves sprint 36 to 38 miles per hour for short distances.