Wolves love pups so much…

They’ll gladly raise those not their own!

One way scientists are trying to save the red wolf population from extinction is to “cross foster” 10-14 day old red wolf pups. Because they are so sparsely distributed, genetic inbreeding is threatening the remaining population.

Wolf biologists have found they can bring two wolf pups from captive populations and replace them with two wolf pups in the wild — as long as both are about 10-14 days old. The parents can obviously smell the new pups are not theirs, but it doesn’t seem to matter. They successfully raise all their pups — and the new pups will bring genetic diversity to their new homes. To learn more, go to Wolf.org — the International Wolf Center.

No More Alpha Wolves?

On his website, famous wolf author David Mech puts it like this:

“One of the outdated pieces of information is the concept of the alpha wolf. “Alpha” implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle. However, most wolves who lead packs achieved their position simply by mating and producing pups, which then became their pack. In other words they are merely breeders, or parents, and that’s all we call them today, the “breeding male,” “breeding female,” or “male parent,” “female parent,” or the “adult male” or “adult female.” In the rare packs that include more than one breeding animal, the “dominant breeder” can be called that, and any breeding daughter can be called a “subordinate breeder.”

Turns out the reason the “alpha” male and female rule the others in the pack — is because the others are their children(!)

Wolf Reaction to Planes & Helicopters

At least at Yellowstone, wolves ignore planes, even low-flying ones. But they hate helicopters.

That’s because helicopters are used to dart wolves to put radio collars on them.

And wolves outside of Yellowstone also hate helicopters. Because some people with testosterone poisoning like to shoot wolves from helicopters — as if it were a “sport.” — Photo: Cam Adams, Unsplash.

Separating Wolves from their Pack

Separating wolves — even unrelated wolves — for even a short time is extremely distressing to them.

At the International Wolf Center (wolf.org), they removed a 1-year old female wolf to spay her. The doc said to keep her by herself for five days — for the stitches to heal. But the female ripped the fence apart within 12 hours to get back to the wolf she’d been with. 

Imagine, then, how strong the motivation must be for young adult wolves to leave the family in search of a mate.