UPDATE: **If you're unsure of some areas of this and what I mean, read this -- ninjakato.deviantart.com/journ…
Alright, now before I get started I'd just like to say a few things so that people won't jump down my ass and call me some kind of asshole that hates wolves or thinks they should all die. I love wolves. They're beautiful, intelligent, and amazing creatures. They're part of the Earth's ecosystem and they belong in the wild where they are.
I studied the wolf for 10 years of my life (maybe more; I lost count) -- with that being said I'd just like to say this to couple that: They are NOT perfect animals.
They are killers, they are terrifying, and they are in no way human.
Wolves and humans share a minimal bond with one another in the wild, it's there but the wolf does NOT depend on us and we do not depend on the wolf. We tolerate each other as predators in each other's world. That's it. This notion that man and wolf share a deeper bond because we domesticated them many years ago is bunk, we did NOT domesticate the wolf, we created the dog. Dog and wolf are not the same, they differ in MANY ways. Yes, the dog has similar traits to the wolf and vice versa but you're less likely to be killed by a cornered German shepherd than by a cornered wolf. Not much less but less, trust me. When cornered dogs aim to intimidate or even hurt, wolves aim to kill or be killed.
I thought I should stuff this little tidbit in here about wolfdogs -- ask anyone who has had or has one and they will tell you they do NOT fully trust their dog. If they do they are lying. They know damn well that that wolf (if in high content) can cause primal instincts to be activated. Don't get me wrong, wolfdogs can be amazing pets IF you know what you're doing and have the know-how and mental stability to handle them. Some people don't. Hell, a lot of people don't. That's why there's so many wolf/wolfdog sanctuaries cropping up all over the country/world now. This isn't about wolfdogs though... this is about WOLVES. Full wolves.
FACT: Wolves HAVE, CAN, and WILL kill(ed) a human-- don't be naive enough to think otherwise. Bears have killed humans, Tigers have killed humans, Cougars/Pumas have killed humans, Lions have killed humans, the list goes on. These are PREDATORS. They are hunters, they hunt and kill to survive and to live.
Some of the largest wolves clock in at about 100-170lbs (that's 45-70kg) -- that's about the size of a smaller but average human being. (Probably outweighs you!) They tab up to around 32-34 inches (80-85cm) at the shoulders and are built to kill. They are built for endurance and hunting and killing animals much larger than them.
Yes, they are majestic and beautiful but they are also deadly and dangerous as anything you've ever seen, or rather anything you wouldn't ever want to see.
Now, I know people may think I'm trying to demonize the wolf but don't go there. I don't demonize the wolf, I respect it for what it is; a wild animal. An untamed, inhuman, and powerful hunter. These animals deserve respect but they also deserve to be treated as dangerous animals that should be regarded not as man's enemy or friend but as a predator. Just as man can kill a wolf the wolf can kill man. That is the bond, that is it.
Although wolves have come to show us their love for family through forming packs and pairs, they've also showed us they are not to messed with. These are not the cuddly, fluffy, sweet brother to the Malamute they are his superior.
On a personal level I don't hunt. It's not my thing. However, many people in my family hunt both prey animals and predators alike when the seasons allow it. There are places where wolf hunting is allowed and even pushed for. Not every instance is because people want to destroy the wolf or get rid of them, it's because they're THRIVING. Where wolves have been reintroduced in many places in the US and Canada they are thriving and breeding fairly well, so much so that in some areas they are becoming a problem to other animals.
I'm willing to bet a lot of people don't know that wolves kill coyotes simply because...they're there. Coyotes don't really pose ANY threat to a wolf pack but the wolf pack will chase and kill a coyote simply because they can. In a one and one fight between wolf and coyote the wolf is going to win by default.
Wolves kill dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, and even go after children; not often successfully but they do.
Wolves are KILLING MACHINES. They are built to kill.
You can sit there and imagine a beautiful Timber wolf, it's big fluffy mane billowing in the wind as it lifts its head to sing that mournful cry of the wild that sends goosebumps down your spine as it echos off the mountain side, and you can try to tell yourself that wolves are just misunderstood and they couldn't possibly be anything beyond friendly magnificent creatures. Magnificent? Sure. Friendly? HANope.
Let me tell you something about the 'friendliness' of wolves, alright?
If anyone is talking anything about a 'friendly' wolf they are talking about those semi-timid, semi-domesticated, captive bred wolves in zoos and roadside sanctuaries. Wolves that have lived behind bars or fences and have been fed on chicken, steak, or dog food their entire lives. They're not talking about a wild wolf that has fought through cold arctic like winters surviving on nothing but lemmings and scraps left behind by a blizzard in lean times. Wolves that travel miles upon miles in a single day in pursuit of a meal they may or may not catch. They're not talking about THOSE wolves.
A wild wolf's term of 'friendly' is 'stay away from me and I won't hurt or kill you' to a human being. When you're out in woods where wild wolves are you know it. The hair on the back of your neck tingles with the anxiety that you are being watched and you can't see your observer. You are not thinking about petting these creatures or walking into their territory unarmed hoping they'll come by with tails a-waggin' and big dopey smiles on their face. No, you are all senses honed and on guard because wolves are expert hunters and they can take you down without much effort if they want to.
I've met wolves that have lived in cages and a wolf that lived in the wild before he was hit by a car and brought to a sanctuary to live the rest of his life since he couldn't survive in the wild with his injuries. Even after they healed.
The difference between the two types of animals was PHENOMENAL. Absolutely.
'Tamed' wolves (I use the term loosely here) tend to either ignore intruders on their territory (because they don't even really have one) or they react by pacing apprehensively thinking you're going to feed them.
The wild wolf did nothing but stare at me, a stranger in his small territory. His piercing golden brown eyes staring me down making sure I knew damn well if I got too close I'd lose something on either my hand or my face. I got too close without knowing and I soon found out just how wild this animal was. He grabbed the hood of my coat and tore it off. The tame wolves? They just paced by the fence while I stood at the same distance doing nothing but looking at me warily.
From that moment on I respected the wolf, I regarded the wolf as a creature to be respected and revered for the fact it was a hunter, a predator, and a potential man-killer. When that wolf tore into my coat it pulled me so hard against the cage I got bruises on my shoulders and I will honestly say I was scared for my life even though I knew the wolf had a limited chance to really hurt me.
Do I support wolf hunting? Yes, I do. Very much so when it's regulated and done responsibly.
You see wolf hunting is NOT usually done in areas where wolf populations are dwindling or struggling, it's also usually only done in areas where wolf populations are thriving and breeding steadily. I can't say for certain about everywhere on the planet, only the places I know of.
Killing 10-20 wolves out of 5,000 is not going to harm the population anymore than popping 10-20 bubbles on bubble wrap. The impact is NOT that big. Get over it.
Wolves are also notoriously DIFFICULT to hunt and bring down unless you are using a trained tracker to find your prey and even then, reputable trackers have standards on which animals can be hunted and killed and which ones cannot be killed. This is the same thing with bears, lions, and any other stable/semi-stable population of animals on the planet.
This is not to say that all hunters are responsible with their hunting and abide by the rules. There's bad eggs out there in every place that hunt and kill without care or
respect for their kills. You cannot blame the actions of a few on the many. You just can't. If you're willing to do that with wolf hunting than you may as well blame yourself as part of the growing population of slave labor and unfair trade going on in the world because of the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Don't be so mighty, alright?
Hunting is OKAY when it's done right and with respect to the animal you are killing. Man has hunted animals for thousands of years and yes, man didn't always do it for sport but that's not to say he never did back in the caveman days. For all we know hunting big predators by man could have been used to show strength and prowess to females. We don't know if man's desire for 'trophies' began with his lazy drop of instinctual nature.
However, that being said man is not the only animal to kill for fun or without merit or reason. Wolves do this a lot in times of plenty. They kill, eat but a little, and leave. Their kills go to the birds and other animals of the forest so it's not gone to waste. However, it the wolves aren't hungry then why do they kill? Simple, they're hunters. They kill because it's in their DNA. In some cases wolves will kill without eating the kill and take chunks to bury for leaner times, but not always.
When man hunts he often does it for the connection with nature, the primitive bond man has with the land, hunting and tracking prey; it opens up the mind and brings it back to a time when THIS is how we lived. How we survived!
So hunting wolves? Sure! Killing wolves? Sure! So long as it's allowed/in season and done within reason. Deer are just as cute as wolves, if not cuter but we kill them. Cattle are just as beautiful as wolves but we kill them and eat them. No one really shakes a stick at how many chickens and pigs man eats and kills daily. They're animals too. You want to advocate the survival and well being of one species, then you'd better be willing to go for them all because guess what kiddo, they're ALL are part of our world.
The only difference is is wolves got the internet... wolves have 'fans'!
Listen up, alright? Want to care about an animal that's majestic and nearing extinction? Siberian Tigers; barely 400-500 left in the wild -- Iberian Lynx; NONE left in the wild that we know of (5 maybe) -- Amur Leopards; nearly extinct -- Alaskan Grizzly/brown bears; around 20,000 left on certain islands around Alaska -- Ethiopian wolf; numbers dwindling, in some areas EXTINCT.
The wolf is no longer endangered in 99% of the places it used to be 20+ years ago. They were reintroduced and they are BLOSSOMING. They're doing beautifully in their reintroduction into their habitat. Don't worry about them, they'll be FINE. If you're so avid to defend the wolf defend their incredible ability to bounce back and survive! Don't damn or demonize anyone who dislikes them or thinks hunting them is okay! That's just being narrow about it and makes the wolf look bad because if you're all crazy about it you're not doing him any favours by being a nut-job defending him.
My grandfather HATED wolves; HATED them. I never got a reason why but he was terrified of them. He grew up in Germany back in the 1940's and as a boy there were stories of wolves and in every one of them wolves were beasts. Devil beasts that killed people wherever they went and without provocation. These stories to us are ludicrous but to him they cemented the foundation for his feelings about wolves. I was confused because as I said, I studied wolves for damn near a decade and I loved them, but he was persistent and so I just never questioned him again on it.
If you grow up with a hatred for a wolves, there's a reason. For some it's because wolves were/are considered a farmers worst enemy. For others it's because of stories portraying the wolf as a blood thirsty demon that kills and drinks blood nightly.
Is it right? No. Is it wrong? No.
I revere the wolf for its wildness and it's tenacity, but I don't give it too much rope into humanity because the wolf is not a human. They don't think like us and they don't really like us. To them we are a threat or a meal; depends on what season your in really.
There are so many people willing to lay down a bunch of bullcrap 'facts' to advocate the abolishing of wolf hunting or advocating the wolf's amazing being it's kind of crazy. Wolves are not the only animal on the planet, and they are certainly not the only animal that needs our help to keep surviving on this planet a little longer.
The wolves are doing fine but there's the cousins to the wolf that are struggling. Ethiopian wolves? Ever heard of those? How about Red wolves? Iranian wolves? Mexican wolves? Alright, how about the Eurasian wolf or the Arabian wolf? These are all animals that could use some actual help and positive promotion and activism to keep their numbers beyond the breaking point.
I always hear so much about Gray wolves and Timber wolves, sometimes the Red wolf, but you rarely hear about any other wolves and if you do it's like some kind of edgy trend, like 'oo0o there's a new wolf species?!' -- uhhh no, you dolt, they've lived just as long as they others bu you were a bit too preoccupied with the other woofers that you forgot there's other parts of the world where these canids live(d)
Now look I know you love wolves, I do, believe me, but stop with the crap about 'wolves are the best animals on the planet' stuff, alright? And STOP making those of us who LIKE/LOVE wolves look like blazing nutters with your bullspit 'facts' about how wolves never killed someone/something unprovoked and blablabla. They have, get over it. They have hurt/killed unprovoked. They do kill for fun. They CAN kill you and WOULD if you crossed THEIR line (which is not very far or wide to cross).
Love wolves but respect them for what they are; wild animals. Don't humanize them too much or you will take the one thing that keeps them amazing; their wildness.
Don't hate or demonize people who respectfully kill these animals, even if it's for sport. If they're doing it right then they do NOT need to be bastardized for wanting to experience the ways of their ancestors just once or twice in their life. I've been told that once you actually kill a wolf you're on such a high because it's such an honour to have matched wits with such a powerful and amazing creature. You feel bad for killing it but you know you did it an intend to keep that animal's spirit with you, won in a fair match of man against animal; beast vs beast.
Man is beast but beast is not man. Man lives off of beast, but beast does not live off of man. He tolerates man and reveres him as another predator.
That is the bond we share with the wolf.
Respect it and don't doll it up to suit your fanciful way of thinking, alright?
Wolves are not humans and their emotions, although thought to be similar, may not even be close to our own on the same level as our own. Hence why man is STILL learning of the wolf's behaviour, even after so long.
So not literally 'human-izing' them like anthropomorphic or anything, but the OTHER definition of that term. Hope this clears if up a bit on what I mean by that.
Humanize, romanticize, fantasize, whatever word you choose to use I am talking about the aspect of giving wolves a level of process like humans do. Yes, they have emotions I'm sure of it but they're not on the same level as ours. Their thought process is much different through separate paths of evolution and niches in life.
We are similar in many ways, I won't dispute that, but we are very very different in many more.
Also just so we are clear this is NOT talking about wolves being monsters or evil or horrible beasts, alright? It's just being a bit brutal on honesty here without sugar coating everything so it sounds sweet. I'm nice but I'm not about to put icing on a subject like this because it's something I just don't think needs it. It's talking about wolves, relax.
I love wolves, alright? I do, but I understand what they are and what they are capable of. I respect them and love them for that wild untamed nature. Yes, I spoke about how vicious they can be but would it be any different in reception if I was talking about bobcats or even tigers?
It seems any time I talk about wolves and speak of the negatives about them people get a bit upset because it's like I'm ripping on them when in reality I'm not at all. Every wild creature has a dark side and a light side, you will never have one without the other. Eventually the darker side comes out and we're reminded that they are wild animals, not pets.
So please understand I respect these animals but I don't prop them up on a pedestal as some kind of mythical being without fault. It wouldn't be fair to them or to any other animal in the kingdom to favour them simply because their fans may get a bit miffed if I speak a bit harshly about them.
Calm down, okay?
** UPDATE: After reading through some comments I figured I'd clarify some things that people assumed upon.
First of all, there's nothing wrong with being passionate about wanting to save and preserve a species that is vital to an ecosystem, okay? Don't get me wrong on this. You go ahead and love wolves and support them, just don't be silly about it. By silly I mean don't go about saying they shouldn't be hunted or killed simply because they're wolves. Man doesn't deserve to be killed anymore than any other animal but they die and are injured every day through murder of their own kind and attacks by animals (not always wolves).
Now, onto the part about hunting since it seems to be the area a lot of people focused on as my being 'wrong' here. You'll notice that any areas about hunting wolves didn't contain actual numbers or rules because I know that's a dangerous area to tread if I am not sure of that information. Any expression on hunting here was fore the most part personal views and opinions on it more than facts. I know better than to state facts where I'm not versed in the full 'regulations' of it all.
I do support hunting in regulation and respect to the animal, but there are multiple types of hunting I do not support; aerial, poison, and starvation hunting. To me these are cruel and inhumane and aerial hunting is a cheap hunting method that defiles the very nature of hunting itself. If you're in a plane or a chopper you aren't 'hunting', you're not even giving your opponent a chance and you'd may as well lock them up in a cage and take your shot.
I also do NOT support unregulated hunting in areas where populations are struggling, and in some cases even regulated hunting in those areas.
Wolf populations may be struggling in some parts of the world where the government may allow hunting but factor this in, if there are so few they will not be easy to find/kill. I know it's bleak ray of hope but it's something.
The best cure for ignorance is education -- however, if someone doesn't want to hear it then you'd better off talking to a wall. People who hate wolves on a level to where they want to eradicate them are not going to stop or listen to reason, they have THEIR reasons and to them those are justifiable. Not always right but that doesn't matter to them.
While on a small level I don't see the point to hunting predators anymore as someone whose studied things like this I can see the relation on a primitive level.
We like to think man is so above the beasts but we forget that man at one time was no different than the beasts. We are hunters, we always have been and always will be. You may not support it on a personal level but you cannot deny your roots either. Your ancestors hunted, that's why you are here.
Hunting a wolf is not an easy task, alright? It's not. They're smart and more so they can smell and hear you long before you them. In the winter you'd have little chance of success unless you know what you are doing, which is probably why most cases of aerial hunting are done in winter =/
You cannot stop unregulated and illegal hunting, we've been trying for many years with little avail. It happens despite punishments for it being caught getting more and severe, those that hunt without any regard for respect for the animal are NOT hunters. They're called poachers. Don't associate the two. Poachers view animals as a profit alone, hunters view it differently. To them it may be a prize and some profit may be made from bits and pieces, but most hunters who do it right don't aim to make money off of their kills. If they can then I guess it's a bonus. Around here White-tails are hunted every year (around this time in fact) and hunters go out and kill them for not only food but population control. In some areas man hunted the deer to the point where there are none left, while in others they're so abundant they raid people's gardens.
There aren't many coyotes left around here but even then, we are allowed to trap and kill them if we spot them and have a license to do so. Otherwise you call animal control and they do it instead. Same with foxes, bobcats, coons, and feral dogs.
However, if you do spot a wolf (ever) it is highly illegal to kill it or even get near it because here where I live wolves are rare, very rare. BUT, that wouldn't stop Average Joe from shooting the animal without regulation just because he wants to be a B-A and show his buddies his wolf kill.
Don't trust hunting shows to give you the 411 on hunting either. They ALWAYS seem to get something which is, as any hunter will tell you, absolute horse crap. Most hunts go fruitless and the most you see is a glimpse of your target before it's gone and out of sight. You also don't hear the main reason people go out hunting. It's not for the thrill to kill, it's more for the connection with nature; to 'get away' from life for a bit and revert to a quiet state of mind. Sitting out in a deer blind for 10 hours in snow with little noise but the wind and birds will do that for you. My grandfather and uncles routinely told stories about the 'one that got away' from their bullets but in reality they never even took a shot. Seeing a deer in the scope doesn't always mean you shoot it, so don't think every hunter is a mindless, heartless, gutless hack who gets thrills from killing animals. Most of the time they don't. If you get something you're considered lucky, if you get multiple targets you're regarded as a good hunter.
I've watched hunting shows before and they honestly do not portray it right at all. These people have all the tracking devices and probably corral the animals they hunt into a small confined area so they can get a good shot for the show. After all, if every hunting show told it like it is for real they'd be boring as heck! You'd be staring at some guys in a blind drinking coffee from a mug, gun in their lap, sitting in utter silence.
If you ask most married hunters about why they go hunting... I'm willing to bet a lot of them will say 'to get away' -- same with fishing and all that. You don't always come back fruitful and most of the time you're not even disappointed about it because if you're a good and true you know hunting isn't about killing or making a profit, it's about having a good time and enjoying nature.
So I hope this clears things up on a few areas. I'm glad people are being civil about this, seems wolves are a hugely touchy subject which to me is a bit silly but eh, it is what it is. I tried to be honest here more so than sweet because you already have a million and one wolf lovers out there than will deck out the canid in full warrior stats without much regard to the truths behind it all. They don't want people to see the wolf as a dangerous animal because that takes away the 'beauty' of it, to me that just makes them more beautiful. But then again that's just me. I can't speak for everyone else.
Alright nuff said, I'm out --
PS: Again, by humanized I mean giving a REAL wild animal (not a character or fantasy creature here) human characteristics to suit your vision of what they are.
This also has nothing to with Furries.