As Utah officials had hoped, a draft federal plan for the recovery of the endangered Mexican gray wolf does not include Utah or Colorado in the area envisioned for the wolf’s range.Released Thursday after decades of delay, the proposal appears to deviate sharply from a draft five years ago, when U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientists considered including southern Utah. The small-bodied wolf species once roamed the American Southwest and northern Mexico.The earlier draft pegged the target for recovery at 750 animals in the United States. The new draft lowers the target to 320 animals sustained over eight years — still triple the current U.S. population — with another 170 in Mexico.
Wolves and dogs are separated by 15,000 years of evolution, during which time the species have veered off into radically different directions. Dogs still retain many of their ancestral behaviours, but less is known about any latent “dog-like” tendencies among modern wolves. A new study of human-raised wolf pups suggests wolves can become attached to their owners in a manner reminiscent of dogs — but that’s where the similarities end.
In 2013, the groups WildEarth Guardians and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance sued the Justice Department over the McKittrick Rule, saying that by following the rule, the Department was being derelict in its duties to enforce federal law. The groups, whose suit was driven in large part by the plight of the Mexican wolf, also claimed that the rule was an improper overreach by the Justice Department. They claimed that Justice was claiming broad authority in interpreting the language in the Endangered Species Act, a power traditionally reserved for the courts.In its finding on June 21, the U.S District Court for the District of Arizona ruled that the Justice Department’s adherence to the McKittrick Rule was an illegal end-run around the will of Congress in writing the Endangered Species Act:
Vocal divergence within species often corresponds to morphological, environmental, and genetic differences between populations. Wolf howls are long-range signals that encode individual, group, and subspecies differences, yet the factors that may drive this variation are poorly understood.
Wolves have a complex image in China. On one hand, many Chinese find them scary, which is why there are numerous stories about wolves harming people and other animals in traditional Chinese culture. On the other hand, Chinese also respect these animals because they are seen as being “courageous” and “tough.”According to the thesis paper Study on the Culture of the Wolf in China by Ma Jianzhang, Yang Guotao and Ma Yiqing, nomadic tribes in North China and Northwest China had great respect for wolves because they needed to fight against the harsh environment of the regions just like the tribes did. Fear of wolves was mainly prevalent in the central parts of China, since the farmers in these regions saw these animals as enemies that were a direct threat to their livestock.
Wolves, as readers of fairy tales know, have enduring reputations as big, bad predators. But a growing body of evidence shows that wolf diets can be diverse and extend beyond the big animals that they hunt down.In Alaska in particular, the studies say, many wolves dine on a daintier dish — salmon.Two recent studies focusing on coastal areas of Southwest Alaska fill in details about those food choices, quantifying the proportion of salmon in wolf diets in different locations and times of the year.One study, newly published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, studied wolves in Lake Clark National Park over four years — 22 wolves from nine social groups roaming the park. Researchers examined the chemistry of hair and blood samples, which revealed the chemical fingerprint of food eaten by the animals.Of the test subjects, five had summer diets that were at least half salmon. The others ate mostly food from land in that season.Use of salmon varied widely between individuals and groups and between seasons and years, and there was a lot of evidence of diet switching as seasons changed and years progressed, the study said. Estimated proportions of salmon in individual wolves’ diets ranged from 1 percent to 89 percent in different seasons and locations.