A Wildlife Photographer Raises Concerns on Balancing Tourism & Conservation in a Canadian National Park

Ep. 09: Balancing Tourism with Conservation in Banff National

More information at Exposed with John E Marriott

More about John

Get exposed to the world of one of Canada’s premier professional wildlife and nature photographers. EXPOSED with John E. Marriott is the culmination of his life’s work — a documentary-style, no-holds-barred web series in which John profiles his favourite locations and subjects, shares tips and how-tos for aspiring photographers, and tackles the important and controversial issues in wildlife conservation.

Researcher found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of dump sites on nearby farms…

Dumping cattle carcasses is illegal in Michigan and Wisconsin. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that leaving carcasses in the woods, especially in wolf range, will attract wild carnivores. It’s just plain and simple common sense practice to dispose of livestock properly. Properly disposing of dead livestock also helps prevent the spread of diseases.

It can also be a lesson well learned as in the following story told to me a couple years ago by a woman living in wolf range. I was talking with a woman that lives in the country with a resident wolf pack nearby. I asked her if she had seen any signs of them lately, and she said she hasn’t seen them, but knows they are nearby. Then, she told me her tragic story. They had two dogs, one young and one older, and recently lost the older dog because of a mistake they made. She told me that they dumped their food scraps in a pit in the woods down behind their house; That one day she came out to the garage to find the young dog cowering in the corner. Then, she heard the older dog let out a screech from the pit out behind the house. She ran to the pit, looked down into the woods, and there was no sight of the older dog. They looked but never found a trace of him. They did find wolf tracks though. I asked them if they reported the incident to the DNR and she said no because it was their fault. She said they stopped dumping food scraps in the pit in the woods behind their house. They understand their mistake and tragically too late for their older dog. They live in wolf range and are also farmers. They also respect wolves and understand their place in the ecosystem.

Recently…Research In Upper Peninsula Finds Dumped Livestock Is Changing Predatory Behavior

A study led by Tyler Petroelje, a wildlife researcher and doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, tracked the feeding behaviors of eight wolves from two packs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This research was part of a broader predator-prey study that investigated a variety of factors that affect deer populations in the region. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, the study suggested that dumping cow carcasses alters wolf behavior.

In the North Woods of Wisconsin and Michigan, a wolf’s natural diet typically consists of deer and beaver, Petroelje explained. But he found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of cattle carcasses from dump sites on nearby farm

The following is recommendations for disposing of dead livestock from Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Disposing of livestock carcasses is an important part of animal agriculture. Wisconsin law says that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.

Rendering, burial, burning and landfilling have been the typical means of disposal, but these are becoming less and less practical. Burial and burning create biosecurity hazards and threats to water and air quality. Rendering remains the best choice to protect the environment, public health, and animal health, but it is becoming more expensive and less available.

Cattle carcasses in particular are becoming more difficult and expensive to send to rendering because of federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal feed and pet foods, now prohibits using parts from cattle 30 months or older in any food for animals unless the spinal cord and brain are first removed.

We recommend composting carcasses to overcome these problems. Remember that composting is an active process.

Putting a carcass in the woods or on the back 40 to rot and/or be eaten by scavengers is not composting and:

• Risks disease transmission to your livestock and your neighbors’, and to wildlife.

• May contaminate water sources – including your well and your neighbors’ wells.

• Invites vermin and pests, including coyotes, that may transmit disease and prey on your livestock.

• Alienates neighbors and generally casts farmers in a bad light.

• Is illegal.

Washington State University wolf researcher agrees to settle lawsuit…

Dr. Rob Wielgus: War on Wolf Science

Rob is one of the continent’s leading experts on wolf-livestock interactions. His pioneering research on wolves and livestock in eastern Washington found that lethal control of wolves was in fact increasing livestock depredations, and that ranchers who took part in his cooperative program employing nonlethal measures experienced minimal livestock mortality due to wolves.

Due to political pressure placed upon the administration of the Washington State University, the College of Agriculture placed limits on the speech of Dr. Wielgus and his Large Carnivore Research Laboratory concerning wolves, removed grant funding from Dr. Wielgus, and subjected him to a series of wrongful disciplinary actions as a means of forcing silence on lethal control issues, oftentimes at the behest of a local Republican legislator.

Dr. Wielgus contacted PEER, and his First Amendment academic freedom case resulted in a settlement enabling him to retire from the university.

PEER’s campaign center is located here: https://www.peer.org/campaigns/wildlife-protection/war-on-wolves-and-science/

A WSU wolf researcher takes the payment to go away in the settlement of a lawsuit over academic freedom. Seattle Times

By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times environment reporter

A leading wolf researcher has agreed to leave Washington State University at the end of the spring term in return for $300,000 to settle a suit he brought over infringement of his academic freedom.

Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, pioneered research of wolf behavior in cattle country as the predators began their return to Washington.

Wielgus tracked the behavior of wolves and cattle and learned that the state’s policy of killing wolves that had preyed on cattle was likely to lead to more cattle predation, not less, because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs.

The research was unpopular with ranchers, who complained to lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature, who, in turn,

Wielgus filed a lawsuit this past year with the assistance of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, alleging the university had silenced and punished him for his research findings to placate politicians beholden to ranchers.

Emails obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request revealed that WSU administrators were worried funding for a new medical school was in jeopardy unless controversy in the Legislature and among ranchers over Wielgus was quelled.

“ … Highly ranked senators have said that the medical school and wolves are linked. If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” Dan Coyne, lobbyist for WSU, wrote his colleague, Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist, two days after the paper’s publication. Read full Seattle Times Story here

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Feature image by Ian McCallistar

Killing is Not Conservation…

…The idea that only man is equipped for conserving our planet’s natural resources is a dying concept; dying right along with the untold numbers of wild sentient beings killed in the name of conservation. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of conserving wildlife. In the state of Wisconsin alone coyotes are hunted year round because they’re considered vermin that need to be exterminated. It’s about time we work towards changing the paradigm of killing to conserve. It’s going to take a major shift in thinking that will require opening up lines of communication between the general public; specifically with interests in conserving our natural resources for future generations to come. It’s not about numbers. It’s about sentient beings sharing our planet, and how we can coexist for the benefit of all living upon Mother Earth.

Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking…

“Let me first briefly note what compassionate conservation is not. The easiest way to summarize this topic is to say that compassionate conservation isn’t “welfarism gone wrong.”” Marc Bekoff from: Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN CRANE, MINDEN PICTURES

More from Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age by Marc Bekoff Traditional conservation science is ethically challenged and conservation has had a very bloody past and continues to do so. Of course, this does not mean that conservation biologists are cold-blooded killers who don’t care about the well-being of animals, but rather that the problems that are faced throughout the world, most brought on by human intervention in the lives of other animals, are challenging to the point of being daunting. Often, it seems as if the only and easiest solution is to kill the “problem animals” and move on to the next situation, in a never-ending series of conflicts. However, killing simply does not work in the long run. And, of course, as numerous people have pointed out, it is ethically indefensible.

Compassionate conservation also doesn’t allow for people to play what I call the “numbers game.” Claims that go something like, “There are so many members of a given species it’s okay to kill other members of the same species” are not acceptable. With its focus on the value of the life of each and every individual, no single animal is disposable because there are many more like them.

“Killing to save: We really don’t want to kill others animals but…Compassionate conservation also is not concerned with finding and using the “most humane” ways of killing other animals, so killing animals “softly” is not an option, because it’s inarguable that killing individuals in the name of conservation remains incredibly inhumane on a global scale.” Marc Bekoff

What is Compassionate Conservation?

Populations of animals are not homogenous, abstract entities, but comprise unique individuals – in the case of sentient animals, each with its own desires and needs and a capacity to suffer.

Animal welfare as a science and a concern, with its focus on the individual animal, and conservation biology and practice, which has historically focussed on populations and species, have tended to be considered as distinct. However, it is becoming clear that knowledge and techniques from animal welfare science can inform and refine conservation practice, and that consideration of animal welfare in a conservation context can lead to better conservation outcomes, while engendering increased stakeholder support. From Compassionate Conservation website

Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking. How can we begin to change from killing to compassionate conservation? It begins locally, in local communities, by opening the conversations at public meetings. More to come on this topic…

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Featured image from Flickr.com

The Intent Upon Killing Wolves for Trophy on Public Lands is Exploitation

The War On Wolves Continues. Wolf advocates we must make our voices heard. By Alex Krevitz, M.A. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Science Editor

In recent years state and federal natural resource agencies have targeted grey wolves Canis lupus, for elimination.  Scientific organizations and reputable non governmental wildlife organizations have had their peer reviewed scientific research eschewed by policy makers.   Individual scientists have had aspersions cast upon their professional legitimacy for questioning wolf management policies.

The purveyors of the anti wolf misinformation have been affiliated with groups associated with extractive industries, agricultural interests and trophy hunting. Their goal has been a mission to depict wolves as wanton killers of deer and livestock. Their interests have been served by legislators whose campaigns they have funded.  Cases before the Supreme Court of the U.S. such as Citizens United and Montana Copper Kings have infused those who seek to exploit public land for private gain often at the expense of wildlife with a source of revenue with which to influence policy makers.  Fortunately, the judiciary on several occasions have restored protections to wolves. Justices have characterized the fervent and scientifically unfounded war on wolves as “arbitrary” and “irresponsible.”

Historically, over decades, Americans, in polls and on ballot initiatives,  have expressed strong support for banning wolf hunting and protecting public lands. Surreptitious attempts by extractive industries and ranchers to devastate these lands for personal gain have met with massive and vocal public opposition and some plans have been stopped or delayed.

Miraculously, persistent communications to legislators by wolf advocates resulted in the species continued protection. Numerous NGOs and grass roots activists update each other and the public on legislative maneuvers and upcoming votes. Countering large well funded and experienced entities determined to remove wolves from Endangered Species protections is an ongoing task. Certain members of Congress with hitherto positive environmental records have capitulated to their well funded cohorts with opposing agendas.

The current Interior Secretary has elevated the trophy hunting and mineral extraction as top priorities of his department. He has faced skepticism and criticism from scientists, the conservation community and the public. Naturalists at all levels  have been appalled by this single minded focus on transforming the Interior Department into  a safe haven for those intent upon killing trophy animals and exploiting natural resources on public lands as  primary objectives.

Once a species had been extirpated there is no return. The cumulative effects of killing, border walls and habitat destruction is terminal.

So the fight goes on to advocate for our wildlife who cannot protest in their own right.  To protect our sacrosanct and irreplaceable natural resources; It is imperative that severe exploitation actions be publicized, and that those who advocate for these destruction be held accountable.

We must  make our voices heard as individuals through the media, petitions, at public meetings, using our informed communications networks to rally support. We must all vote. America’s natural resources, including wolves, were protected in the past due to public support.  It is incumbent upon all of us to provide that same support for wildlife and wildlands now.

Alex Krevitz,  M.A.

Science Editor

A Film Project “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy – The Yellowstone Story”

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. Make a tax deductible contribution here to support the film project.

These stories will be the inspiration that helps the viewer to gain insight into the heart of wolf advocacy. Marc Cooke is one of the wolf advocates with a story to tell. Mark Cooke founded the nonprofit called Wolves of the Rockies headquartered out of Stevensville, Montana.

Marc Cooke was born in Connecticut and living between both Cape Cod and Connecticut to a family of law enforcement officers. He attended parochial, public and private educational institution. During his childhood, he began what was to become a lifelong enjoyment and commitment to both domestic animals and wildlife well-being.

Marc Cooke After completion of higher education at Johnson & Wales University, he joined the United States Army to begin what would become a steady commitment to giving back to this country and causes he believed in. While in the military he was stationed in Germany and helped support Desert Storm and Desert Shield. It was during this time he met and married Lorenza and eventually moved to Switzerland.

After being Repatriated to Cape Cod Massachusetts for several years and continuing to have an interest in horses and wildlife. He eventually moved west and settled down in North West Montana.

Enjoying all that Montana has to offer he quickly realized that wildlife was unnecessarily being abused for pleasure and profit. He became active at the grassroots level to abolish trapping in Montana. All the while watching the beginning of irrational hatred and abuse meant for wolves that had been reintroduced into Yellowstone and Idaho. He quickly shifted gears and began attending wolf related private and public hearings. It didn’t take long to realize that wolves were being railroaded and had virtually no grassroots support to defend and protect these animals at the local level. Livestock producers and all consumptive and trophy hunting organization were having their way with future wolf management in Montana and elsewhere.

As an individual, no county, state or federal decision-makers were listening. This was when Marc and several other pro-wolf individuals began National Wolf Watcher Coalition a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit. This eventually led to another nonprofit he founded called Wolves of the Rockies headquartered out of Stevensville, Montana.

Wolves of the Rockies is the most active local and national wolf defender and protector in Montana. Wolves of the Rockies has developed long-term relationships with other hunting and pro-wolf state and national conservation organizations. Along with decision makers such as Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commissioners and state and federal elected officials.

Marc Cooke Under Wolves of the Rockies leadership, we have achieved many pro-wolf accomplishments. The creation of two subunits 313 & 316 that border Yellowstone National Park. They have gone from no wolf killing quota to only being able to hunt or trap two wolves in each. Also, no individual hunter can kill more than one wolf in 313 & 316. Rewards for the apprehension of Yellowstone wolf poachers, derailing the intention of extending wolf hunting season in the Bitterroot Valley that would have allowed the hunting of midterm pregnant wolves. He pushed for a Montana Trapping Advisory Committee that will represent the anti-trapping public. Closing the wolf hunting season around Yellowstone National Park for several months one year. WotR has derailed or softened many legislative bills that were considered anti-wolf and carnivore.

More on this documentary film project …

Inside the “Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone” Story is the story of the people that advocate to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. Here’s more on the other wolf advocates in the film.

Ilona Popper writer, wolf watcher and member of Bear Creek Council.

Rick Lamplugh author and member of Bear Creek Council.

Nathan is the owner of The Wild Side, LLC, a wildlife touring business specializing in outfitting groups of all ages to view wolves and other wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.

And more interviews…

Along with interviews from the Yellowstone Wolf Project Doug Smith, Rick McIntyre and Kira Cassidy.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story”. presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunts taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

About the producers…

Maaike Middleton Co Producer

M.A Documentary by Practice, University of London – Royal Holloway

Graduated with Merit  B.A Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, Graduated Cum Laude

Raised in the Paradise Valley, schooled in London, traveled to 25+ countries, rooted in the Montana wilds. Growing up in Paradise Valley all I wanted to do was travel and see the world. After getting my BA in Filmmaking from Montana State University I did just that. I traveled to some amazing places, from the wild Gobi dessert in Mongolia to the temples of Angor Wat in Cambodia to the hustle and bustle of London where I received a Masters in Documentary filmmaking from the University of London. Returning to Paradise Valley to document the beauty that surrounds me daily. My passport ever ready for the next international adventure and hiking boots ready to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Rachel Tilseth Co Producer and Director

Rachel holds a Batchelor of Science Degree in Art Education, graduated Cum Laude and is a retired art teacher. Tilseth’s interests in nature, specifically wolves, led her to advocate for wolves and wildlife. In the year 2000 she became involved in WI DNR Wolf Recovery Program working as a volunteer winter wolf tracker to present. She founded the blog and social media network Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin to bring education and awareness to Wisconsin’s wild wolf. Tilseth has spent several years speaking out against wolf trophy hunts. Tilseth is active in working to ban Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin. She has a strong background in the visual arts. She’s a sculptor and oil painter. Tilseth has expanded her interest into filmmaking. She’s currently in the process of creating a documentary film about the heart of wolf advocacy.

Donate Here

We now have a fiscal sponsor for our film. To make a tax deductible contribution go to Plan B Foundation and donate today! Five percent of your donation goes to help wolves and wolf programs throughout the USA.

Featured photograph by Wild at Heart Images Sandi Sisti

The students of today will lead the charge tomorrow in the War On Wolves…

Hearing students of all ages from elementary, middle school, high school and university express their respect and admiration for wolves is hopeful. As an educator, when I hear a fifth grader say, “wolves are my favorite animal” I immediately respond in agreement with them. Yes wolves are my favorite animal too!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela

I have been bringing wolf education and awareness in my local school community since 1998. I’ve taken local high school biology classes out wolf tracking and on howl surveys for two decades now. Even helped a friend and local biology teacher screen the film “Medicine of the Wolf” for his class. This is what makes a difference, wolf advocates, by opening the conversations in your local school community about wolf awareness and education. Share your respect and admiration for wolves with students of all ages. It begins with planting the seeds, and watching them grow into young adults who become wolf advocates. Several organizations have developed wolf education curriculums, Gray Wolf Educators Guide Living With Wolves and Timber Wolf Alliance. I teach a science summer camp and invited Timber Wolf Alliance to share their wolf education curriculum with my classes. It was a big hit! If you want to know more email me at wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to connect you with these two organizations for wolf education curriculum.

Photo credit a grey wolf in Amalik Bay. NPS Photo/D. Kopshever.

Education and Awareness Wins Over Angry Rhetoric Every Time…

Advice for wining the war-on-wolves. There’s a culture of trolling, attention seekers, and the haters in the comment section on every wolf advocacy page. Those trolls can create a culture of angry rhetoric real fast. It’s my experience (been doing this since the year 2000) that anyone claiming to kill a wolf and use the “SSS” method more than likely are ALL talk. Probably have never even seen a wolf, and if they did would pee their pants in fear. Spending our time fighting these types is a real waste of time. It gets the wolf advocacy movement “nowhere” real fast. The aggressive approach simply doesn’t work.

“How can you stop yourself from yelling and shouting and accusing everyone of cruelty? The easy answer is that the aggressive approach simply doesn’t work.” ~Jane Goodall

We cannot create an atmosphere of compassion, respect & coexistence for wolves if we are fighting and arguing online with the small fish (trolls & attention seekers). Meanwhile, the politicians are enjoying the online show of angry rhetoric. It’s what politicians live for and use to keep the focus off the real issues.

Angry rhetoric on Facebook keeps the wolf advocacy movement polarized. There’s probably many people out there who would get involved, but won’t because of all the screamers, ranters, the trolls, and the likes of which are displayed within wolf advocacy sites. Let’s face facts that extremist’s voices are drowning out any and all intelligent conversation within the wolf advocacy movement.

Education and awareness are key components to winning the war on wolves.

Instead we must use scientific facts and real life experiences working with wolves as our best weapon to win the war on wolves. We must rise above the angry rhetoric, after all we have the moral-high-ground because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” ~Plato

We must carry the banner forward in compassion for both humans and wolves and wildlife in order to win the war on wolves being waged by special interests groups and unscrupulous politicians.

Respect for all matters…

Featured image from John E Marriott

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Join us at Sedona Wolf Week

…Why one species is given a black mark beside it and another is elevated to a position of reverence.

I enjoyed reading John Anderson’s perspective concerning his recent opinion editorial where he makes a strong case for the wolf; Perhaps it is time for us to ask why one species is given a black mark beside it and another is elevated to a position of reverence. I give you the wolf and the bald eagle.”

Community Columnist for The Chippewa Herold

John Andersen: The difference between eagles and wolves Mar 3, 2018

Over the past few weeks I read some great news in several newspapers, including this one. With great fanfare it has come to pass that the bald eagle has returned from the brink of extinction. Through the use of science and facts, DDT was banned as a pesticide in 1972. The result today is that there are 1,600 occupied eagle nests in virtually every part of the state.

This is outstanding news. Using simple math, that means there are about 3,200 adult eagles around. All 72 counties have eagle nests in them, and here in Lake Hallie, eagles are becoming a more common sight. No longer do you have a take a trip “up north” or drive down to Wabasha, Minnesota, to see them in the winter months. Bald eagles are becoming a success story throughout the nation and in Wisconsin. So when does the hunting season on them start?

In consulting the literature, there are plenty of problems with having too many bald eagles. First of all, the moral character of the bald eagle is appalling. No other than Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said about bald eagles:

““For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him.” Ben Franklin wished our national symbol to be the wild turkey, which considering what is going on in Washington right now, is not a bad idea.

Of course we have all heard the stories of bald eagles carrying off small children. Eagles also have been known to carry off pets. Bald eagles raise a holy terror with the family chickens, and of course everyone has lost fish off a line to bald eagles. Perhaps the Legislature could petition the federal government to remove the bald eagle from the endangered species list and leave the regulation of bald eagles to the state of Wisconsin and the other 49 states.

Wisconsin could then set up a lottery for hunting bald eagles. There would be no age requirement for a license, you could wear blaze pink while hunting them, and a local merchant could set up a “big eagle” contest for the largest wingspan. Yes I know that some eagles would be poached and some would not be registered, but what the heck. Stuff happens. Yes I also know that the Native Americans have legends about the eagle and revere them in tribal culture, but we can do what we have done for the wolves and give then 50 percent of the kill permits.

At this point, some people’s heads have exploded, and they are wondering what ear I am pulling this nonsense out of. Perhaps it is time for us to ask why one species is given a black mark beside it and another is elevated to a position of reverence. I give you the wolf and the bald eagle.

“But it is a funny thing, I never hear people blame bald eagles when they don’t catch any fish. Fish are the main course for them. Yet they blame wolves when they don’t shoot a deer.”

As of 2017 the Wisconsin DNR projects the wolf population in Wisconsin to be 925 or about one third as many bald eagles. Remember the same DNR also did the projections on the bald eagle count in Wisconsin. We still see TV ads and print ads featuring the wolf as the bad guy. Perhaps it is time to stop that nonsense.

The wolf and the bald eagle fit into the ecosystem for a purpose. Both are predators that thin the populations of the prey they feed on. But it is a funny thing, I never hear people blame bald eagles when they don’t catch any fish. Fish are the main course for them. Yet they blame wolves when they don’t shoot a deer.

The town of Hallie was built upon land that our ancestors called “Wolf Prairie.” The bald eagles have returned here. Maybe someday a wolf will wander through its ancestral home; hopefully it won’t be promptly shot by “accident.”

John R. Andersen of Lake Hallie is a former state employee who remains active in the fields of fire prevention, government and education.

The value of play for the curious wolf pup…

…The arrival of spring brings a new generation of wolves ready to explore the world. However, these youngsters will require training and socialization within their family unit before assuming their places in the pack hierarchy. Play is an important component for their training and growth.

By

Alex Krevitz, M.A.

Science Editor for Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Play is part of the normal behavior for wolf pups and other canids exploring the world outside their den with its myriad of new scents, sights and sounds. Their rambunctious acrobatics prepares them for life as savvy adults by developing and honing their innate physical and cognitive skills. Furry little bodies rolling and tumbling, snarling and squealing. These interactions enable young minds to become more alert and adept at reading other animals’ body language. Acrobatics prepare the body for control and balance required for stealthy stalking and learning to read which prospective prey are vulnerable. A wise physically strong wolf can act either cooperatively, or independently on behalf of the pack.

Watch pups at play from “Snow Wolf Family and Me” BBC

Ethologist Marc Bekoff describes play behavior as a factor in , “emotional regulation and the evolution of communication which prepares puppies for the unexpected, decreases aggression and is fun. It feels good. ” Who’s confused? From Marc Bekoff

Play is not only important for the young, but benefits all of us. Take time to enjoy nature and the outdoors and learn from a new generation of wolves.

Alex Krevitz, M.A.

Science Editor

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Featured image by John E Marriott

Alex Krevitz received an M.A. in biology from Hofstra University.

She is a student of and advocate for wildlife, especially carnivores. Ms. Krevitz has studied wolves and other canids as a member of the Mammalogy Department at the American Museum of Natural History, at Yellowstone National Park, in Minnesota and overseas. She currently investigates the biology and ecology of mesocarnivores in the central Sierra Nevada foothills. Ms. Krevitz is an active member of the Conservation Committee of the American Society of Mammalogist. As a lifelong animal lover she believes strongly in compassionate conservatism.