Devastating News for the Wolves
There are also the Red, Mexican Gray, and Gray wolves thatare killed that no one hears about, because of the SSS (Shoot, Shovel, Shut Up) mentality among many anti-wolf people. If the gray wolf was taken off the Endangered Species List, that would be devastating because they may not be considered endangered in the Rocky Mountain states, but they are definitely endangered in the rest of the lower 48, because there are no wild wolves in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, etc. When I walk in the woods, I do not hear the howl of a wolf, but I long to. Maybe someday my dream will become reality, but not if the wolves are taken off the Endangered Species List. Wolves are struggling right now in the North Western states. We all know that OR-7 is struggling to find a mate in Oregon, and has traveled as far as California in search of a mate. Wolves need to remain protected in the lower 48 states. Please write to Director Dan Ashe and let him know that you feel the wolves should remain endangered in the lower 48 states. Decisions about our wildlife should be based on science and not big business. Even though we are kids, we still have a voice. These politicians are making choices that effect our future and the future of our wildlife and the environment. We need to tell them how we feel about this.
Please read and Take Action!
Jamestown Wolf Presentation
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to Melrose Elementary School in Jamestown RI to give a wolf presentation. It was a wonderful school, and I was able to meet my new friend Matthew. He invited me to his school because they were all very interested in wolves and already knew a lot, but wanted to learn more. They have read my articles in Alyssa’s Den as a homework assignment. I presented to the entire fourth grade, and Matthew gave me a wonderful introduction. They were all very interested in the presentation and the items I brought along with me. They want to start a wolf club of their own, and I’ll be looking forward to working with them on that! Thank you to the fourth grade and staff at Melrose Elementary for having me, and for helping save the wolves. I really enjoy giving presentations, and my goal isn’t only for people to like wolves, it’s for them to have tolerance for wolves even if they don’t like them. They are a very vital piece of the ecosystem, and all species have a purpose. So once again, a big thank you to the fourth grade students and faculty at Melrose for inviting me and for being so interested in wolves and wanting to protect them.
A few weeks after I got back from Yellowstone, I got the terrible news that 754 was shot, along with a few other collared Yellowstone wolves as well. 754 was one of the members of the Lamar Canyon pack. He was a remarkable wolf, and it’s terrible that he was killed. He was also one of the first wild wolves I saw, and it’s sad to think that when I go back, he won’t be there. Sadly, 06 won’t be there either. On December 6th, one of the most famous and loved wolves was killed.
She was shot outside of Yellowstone, near the spot 754 was killed. One man and one bullet took away a remarkable wolf, and so much more. Over $35 million dollars is made every year in Yellowstone, due to wolves alone. That has a major effect on the economy, and watching wild wolves is such an amazing opportunity. I remember watching wolves, and there’s such an amazing feeling when you see one. You feel like you’ve never truly been in the wild until you’ve seen a wild wolf. It’s sad that one group of people has so much power over whether or not a whole species gets eradicated. 06 was the alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack, and she could take down an elk all by herself. Her grandparents were the well known Druid alphas 21 and 42. Her death also ended incredible and unique genetics. She was well loved by people all over the world, and many are devastated by her loss. For $18 (the cost of a license in Wyoming), a great wolf was lost – and won’t be coming back.
Just about a month or two ago, I was watching her, 754, and the rest of the pack through Rick McIntyre’s scope in Lamar Valley. She was in the front most of the time, and she had her tail held the highest. They revisited an old bison kill, and some were playing with the bones. As soon as I saw her, I thought about how wonderful it would be to hopefully get see her next year in June with her pups. She was very devoted to her pack, and especially her pups. It would have been great to watch her and her pups, and I’m so sad that I won’t be able to see her next year, or any other year.
So many jobs will be lost in Yellowstone if wolves are eradicated, because the Yellowstone Wolf Project employs so many people. Dr. Doug Smith has been there since the very beginning.
They’re out in the elements, and it’s hard work. The work they do is very important, though. We have learned so much valuable information about wolves and their behavior because of their important work. I think about what Dr. Doug Smith and the rest of the Yellowstone Wolf Project have lost already, because of one person’s sheer hatred toward an animal.
I give wolf presentations, and one of the things I talk about is trophic cascade. The trophic cascade in Yellowstone happened because of people. Ever since wolves were brought back to the park, balance has been restored. The #1 killer of Yellowstone wolves in the park was other wolves, and not people – the way it should be. But now hunters have made a major impact on the wolf population, taking over 10% of the population. The way wolves are ‘managed’ outside of the park isn’t right. 85% of Wyoming is allowed to shoot wolves on sight year-round, and even wolf pups can be shot for no reason. You don’t even need a permit. Hunting was allowed just outside of Yellowstone, and hunters would wait right outside the park for wolves. Humans have a major impact on the environment, and every decision we make either has a positive or negative effect. Decisions should be based on science and facts, and for good management you need a higher and healthy population of wolves for biodiversity. Without that, the whole population would die out. People are in charge of our future, and we need to learn that we don’t own the earth – we share it with every other living thing on the planet. The future is up to us, and it’s our responsibility not to ruin it for future generations.
“We do not inherit the earth form our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.
In October, I got the amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience to see wild wolves in the best place to see them – Yellowstone National Park. I was able to meet other Wolfwatchers from different states, too. They were all so very nice and welcoming. I saw my very first wild wolf through Rick McIntyre’s spotting scope. It was the Lamar Canyon pack, and 06 was ahead of the rest of the pack with her tail held high. We watched them move through Lamar Valley as a pack – all 13 of them! Some were playing, and some scent rolled on an old bison carcass. A few of the wolves picked up some old bones and ran around with them. We watched them for hours, until they disappeared into the trees. Then we went on a drive to try to find moose, bears, and of course more wolves. We pulled into a pullout to turn around. Chris, one of the Wolfwatchers, saw wolf tracks in the snow. Dave looked at them, and said that they were just human prints. But Chris got out to get a closer look, and my mom followed him. They just took a quick glance at them, then they shouted, “Wolf tracks! Wolf tracks!” Dave and I got out to see. There were massive paw prints in the snow, each about the size of my hand, and going in a straight line. Dave and I followed the tracks forward, to where they led. Chris decided to backtrack, and my mom went along with him. Dave and I were almost at the river when we heard them shout, “A wolf! A wolf! A black wolf!” We ran over to them, but by the time we got there, he was in a patch of trees, so we couldn’t see him. But he ran again to get away form us, and crossed to the other side of the road. He was pacing back and forth along the side of the road. You could see how afraid he was of us. So we decided to get in the cars, and back them up all the way. He finally crossed behind us, and howled. We got out of the cars, and watched him run through the river up onto a steep hill. That wolf was 712M, the wolf my parents had sponsored a collar for for my birthday. He was black, with a gray muzzle and a little patch of gray on his chest. That was only my first day in the park.
Yesterday I had the amazing experience to get face to face with real live wolves with Mission: Wolf. They went to the Maritime Museum in Fall River, MA. I brought a couple of friends to share this amazing experience, and I’m sure they enjoyed it just as much as I did. It started with Kent Weber, the founder of Mission: Wolf, talking about wild wolves and wolves in captivity. He was comparing wolf behavior to dog behavior, too. I found it all quite interesting. Then, when he was finished, they brought three wolves out of a bus and into the museum. There was Zeab, Magpie, and Abe. Zeab was a two year old black wolf, Magpie was a 10 year old white and grey wolf, and Abe was a copper colored wolf hybrid. They walked the wolves around the circle, and some people sat on the floor to pet them. When the wolves came by, they would give you a brief greeting and continue along. Kent told us some more about wolves, and before they brought the wolves back into the trailer, we tried to get the wolves to howl. Kent invited me and my friends to go into the wolf trailer to get some one-on-one time with Zeab, Magpie and Abe. It was a great night, and an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Mission: Wolf’s name is a perfect fit for what they do. Kent and his wife Tracy have spent their life giving homes to unwanted wolves and wolf dog hybrids. Their sanctuary in Westcliffe, Colorado is home to about 36 wolves and wolf-dogs. They spend most of their time either caring for the wolves or traveling all around the country to educate people about wolves, and that they don’t make good pets. Their motto is Education v.s. Extinction, meaning that if people aren’t educated about wolves, and that they’re not bad, they will become extinct. This is the truth, sadly. I really respect and appreciate what they are doing,and I think it is very important. Not only seeing, but feeling a real wolf is an unforgettable experience that touches many people’s hearts and minds. So thank you, Kent and Tracy, for all of your hard work and dedication to help save the wolves. And thank you for giving my friends and I the experience of a lifetime.
WAITING FOR YELLOWSTONE
Next week, I’ll be taking the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Yellowstone National Park. I’m very excited, and I can’t wait to go. Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of seeing my first wild wolf. I’ll hopefully be meeting Dr. Doug Smith,
the head of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, along with Rick McIntyre, Dr. Nathan Varley, and Laurie Lyman. When they radio collar the wolves, they take fur and blood samples to find out what diseases they’ve been exposed to and to see the genetics of the wolf, measure their teeth and paws, measure them from the tip of the nose to the end of their tail and weigh them. At the end of the year, they release an annual Yellowstone Wolf Report, that shows the packs and the wolves in each pack. (To learn more about the Yellowstone Wolf Project, click here or here. To read 2011’s annual wolf report, click here.) But I fear for the wolves in Yellowstone, because hunting will be allowed on all sides of the park, and trapping as well. They will also be lured out of the park with electronic calls of wolf pups in distress. Wolves are very protective of wolf pups, even if they’re not their own. I would like to ask people to write to the governors and the senators that are allowing this to take place, and to ask them to please stop. I’m sure that I will have lots to report to you after the trip.
– Alyssa Grayson
Untitled Story by Alyssa..
I wrote this story for a writing assignment at school. I never really thought of a title for it, though. I’m against trapping, because it’s cruel, torturous, inhumane, and no longer needed. Montana has decided to go along with the trapping of wolves, and I can only imagine how a wolf would feel if it were to wander into the jaws of a trap. It must be terrible, the pain and suffering that the animal goes through. Anyway, here’s my story, and I hope you like it!Winding your way through a dense tangle of trees is hard. Especially, when you’re up to the tip of your tail in snow. Little white flakes are still cascading down from the sky, even though there’s not a cloud in sight. I emerge from the forest and into a small spot that’s bare of trees, probably because it’s just a large hill. There is something strange about it, though. The birds aren’t swarming around the trees like they normally do. In fact, there is no sign of any animal coming through here at all. There’s just a large set of footprints cutting through the almost perfect sheet of nearly untouched snow. Just as I take a step forward to investigate farther, a cold metal object clamps my paw in a grip that’s nearly impossible to break. I release a yelp of pain.
Minutes turn into hours. Hours turn into days. I’ve dug out the chain attached to the trap, and I’ve begun to chew on it and yank on it. But no matter how much I try, it doesn’t budge. My blood has died the snow around it a ruby red, because once I even tried to gnaw my imprisoned paw off. I’m starving, so I lick up the snow around me to get some form of energy.
I hear the heavy thud of human footsteps coming up the hill. They come unarmed, but they do have a strange wooden board. The humans take turns sliding down the hillside, the littlest one first, the biggest one last. This happens a number of times before the smallest one sees me and says, “WOLF! Look, Mommy a wolf!” She’s tugging on the other human’s paw until she spots me too. “Wow, she’s awful pretty. Look at those eyes.” She and the little one come towards me, and I begin to wildly thrash around unable to run or escape my imprisonment. They hold my paw, which throbs horribly with pain. I whimper and growl in protest until I realize how foolish I am. They slip the trap off my paw. I run. They wave their paws at me, and I stop running. I howl to them, then continue on my trek. I’m sure I’ll never forget the humans that saved my life.
Alyssa on the Montana Wolf plan for 2012-2013
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Phone: (406) 444-2535
Fax: (406) 444-4952
Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529
Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger
Office of the Lt. Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
PO Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-1901
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-4648
Wolves have amazing senses, and they can see very well. They can see about the same as humans in bright light! Here are some facts about wolf eyes and their eyesight:
* Wolf eyes are usually brown, yellow, orange or a pale shade of green. A wolf’s eyes aren’t blue, which is a mistake people usually make. They are only blue when wolves are pups.
* A wolf’s eyes are in the front if it’s skull.
* Wolves have 180 degree vision.
* Wolves can see movement out of the corner of their eye
* A wolf’s eye can show it’s mood by the pupil expanding or contracting.
* Wolves can’t see all colors, but some of the most distinctive are red, yellow, green and blue.
* Wolf pups are born blind, but open their eyes when 11-15 days old
* Wolf eyes can identify objects that are over 100 feet away.
* Staring, to a wolf, is considered a threat. It means you want to challenge them for their rank and status
There is a fun activity to do! Wolves can see very well in the dark, better than people can, which comes in handy when hunting prey at night. It is especially helpful for wolves in Alaska, because sometimes there are 24 hours of darkness! You can test your “night vision” with a few colored index cards at night. Here’s how:
Stand in a dark room. Have your index cards in your hand. If you only have white, you can make them colored by coloring them so they are completely one color. You want to have a few different colors, or the experiment won’t work. Shuffle the index cards, and close your eyes. Take a random one out of the pile with your eyes still closed. Put the rest of the cards aside, and open your eyes now. Look at the index card in your hand. Do you know what color it is? Try to guess without turning on a light. Once you have guessed what color it is, and you really think you know, turn the light on and see if you were right. If you want, you can put that card with the other cards again, shuffle the pile again, and repeat the process. You can keep repeating this until you are finished the whole pile. Which color was the easiest to identify? Which was the hardest?
” To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul-hope you like what you see.” Aldo Leopold
In 1926, the last wolf in Yellowstone was shot. But why? Some people have developed a fear and hatred for wolves, and they want to kill all of them. Their opinion about wolves isn’t based on science, though. Even though it sounds kind of silly, it is based on stories like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. Both stories have a “Big, Bad Wolf”, but in reality, wolves are big. But are they bad?
Once a major predator, such as a wolf, is taken out of the ecosystem, the whole thing gets thrown off balance. Wolves control ungulate populations, and without them to do so, their population will rise. Wolves keep an ungulate herd moving, and if they don’t move, they stay in one spot to graze. Ungulates, such as elk, like to eat small aspen and willow trees, and other vegetation that grows along the streamside. Without plants near the river, erosion happens. Erosion is when loose soil that isn’t anchored to the ground by plants is swept away by wind or rain. The soil didn’t really have a place to go other than into the river, so the river became shallower. Without aspen and willow trees to protect the river from the sun, the temperature of the water rose. Fish left the rivers and streams because the water was too shallow and warm. Beavers left because they also liked to eat streamside vegetation, and they used willow and aspen trees to build dams with. The elk that weren’t grazing by the rivers and streams ate the tall grasses that sheltered small rodents like mice and voles. The coyote population also went up because wolves control their population, too. They ate most of the rodents; they were easy prey because they couldn’t hide in the tall grasses. Birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, and owls had to leave because they also ate rodents, and the coyotes ate most of them. This is called trophic cascade. Trophic cascade is when one major predator is removed from the ecosystem, and changes like this happen. This is exactly what happened in Yellowstone a while after the last wolf was shot.
On January 12, 1995, 14 gray wolves were caught in Canada and brought to Yellowstone. They stayed in “acclamation pens”. These are cages that are about an acre, and wolves were kept in them for 10 weeks, so they didn’t go back to Canada and so they can form pack roles, because some wolves came without a pack.
The government spent a lot of money on bringing them back to Yellowstone, but now they’re spending a lot to try to get rid of the wolves everywhere else. The trophic cascade in Yellowstone proved wolves are important, so why get rid of them? Because some people aren’t educated about the “real” wolf. They know about the fictional “Big, Bad Wolf”, but do they know about the “Big, Good Wolf”? The REAL wolf? That’s why we have organizations like Wolfwatcher, who care about wolves and try to educate people about them. But you don’t have to be a certain age or part of a certain organization to save a species. Saving a whole species of animals sounds like a really big, hard job, and it is. It’s important, too. If we all join together, and make our voices heard for those who can’t speak, we CAN save a species. There is power in numbers. Don’t let the howls stop. We have to save the wolves before it’s too late!
Check out my video on wolves…
Big Ears of the Red Wolf. Gray Wolf Ears
Wolves have very unique ears that can hear six miles away in the forest and ten miles away in the tundra. Here are a few quick facts about wolf ears:
*Wolf ears are about two inches long.
*A wolf’s ear is rounded, unlike a coyote’s pointed ear.
*Wolve’s are born deaf, but begin hearing within a few weeks after birth.
*Red wolves have large ears to cool themselves off in the hot and humid climate of the south.
*The warm blood flowing around in the larger ears of the red wolf loses heat to the surrounding air. When this blood returns to the body it is much cooler and in this way helps to keep them cool.
*A wolf ear can go to a 180 degree angle to hear a sound better.
*A wolf’s ears move independently of each other.
*You can sometimes tell how a wolf is feeling by looking at it’s ears. if the wolf’s ears are back, the wolf could be frightened or showing submission. If the wolf’s ears are forward, the wolf could be alert or saying “I’m the alpha”. If the ears are relaxed, the wolf could be tired or relaxed.
* A gray wolf’s ears are smaller than a red wolf’s ears.
*Wolves are able to hear the heartbeat of small animals under the snow.
National Wolfwatcher Coalition
Wolves need our help now more then ever. We need wolves back on the Endangered Species list!
There used to be 200,000 wolves in North America. Now fewer than 1,200 remain in the wild in the Northern Rockies. The Gray Wolf is fighting its way back from near extinction and its current population isn’t even half as large as it’s previous population. This is much too small a number for wolves to thrive and have great biodiversity.
Ranchers say that wolves are killing their livestock, but wolves are really only responsible for about 1% of livestock loss. Disease and harsh winters are the two biggest killers. And there are other predators, too. If you take out the wolf, then you will need to take out the bears, coyotes, cougars, eagles etc. to protect the livestock. How can a single group of people decide what species to exterminate and which ones to keep? Think about a tower representing the ecosystem. Each carefully placed brick represents a species of animal. If you take away a brick, the whole tower could collapse. We share the Earth with these magnificent animals. It is not for humans to decide which forests to destroy, which species to eradicate, etc. These animals have inhabited these areas for a countless number of years. It is the ranchers who are invading their territory. The Native Americans were able to peacefully coexist with all animals, so why can’t we?
Wolves are very smart. there are ways to keep wolves away from land without having to kill them. You can play sounds of howling wolves to keep them away – wolves are very territorial. You can also scare them with loud noises, moving things, etc. Most importantly, if you kill a wolf, how will it be able to bring the message to the pack that a certain area isn’t safe?
Hunters believe that wolves are responsible for there not being enough elk to hunt. There is a balance in nature that is always changing. There has never been a case where predators have hunted out their food source to depletion. Wolves aren’t always successful when they hunt. Sometimes wolves are injured or killed when hunting their prey. This is part of the balance. Wolves keep the herds of elk moving which is a really good thing. The left over carcass also provides food for many scavengers.
Some people might think I’m a vegetarian, but I am not. And I’m not against hunting for food or other survival purposes either. I have a lot of hunters in my family and may hunt too when I am older. Some years we have venison on the table or in the freezer and sometimes we don’t. They are not always successful because hunting is not easy and that’s how it should be. We don’t have wolves in Rhode Island so you can’t blame their unsuccessful hunt on that.
Wolves belong long on this Earth and shouldn’t be irradicated just because people are misinformed or because of people’s fear of them.
National Wolfwatcher Coalition