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The Power of Wolf
THE POWER, THE GIFT
There is great power around us, and with this power we
can achieve wondrous things. Open your minds to the power.
The power of Water, the flow of life. The rain gives
birth to the seeds, plants and relives our thirst. It
can move mountains and fill valleys.
The power of Mother Earth, the cradle of our birth.
She offers her breast to feed her people, even while
we dig at her soul.
The power of the Tree, the giver of the air we breathe.
The leaves offer shade, the wood for our lodges and
The power of Wolf, the keeper of the family. Holder
of the Sacred Circle, Wolf protects us, she calls to
her young ones; "Come home".
The power of Fire, the giver of new life. It consumes
us, only then can our souls be renewed. To continue
on our path of life.
The power of Sky, it gives Grandfather Eagle a home.
It gives the stars a place to rest and for us to
dream, our dreams.
The power of Drum, the echo, the Thunder of the
The power of Spirit, that which is us. This is the
greatest power of all, the Creator gave us this gift
to do good only.
Information on Wolves:
Source: World Wildlife Fund
Wolves are the foremost member of the dog family, Canidae. Most
wolves are classified as
Canis lupus, and go by the common name "gray wolf,"
regardless of coloring. A separate
species, the red wolf, (C. rufus) is distinguished by its smaller
body size and reddish coloration.
Only elderly wolves that have lost pigmentation are gray. Actual
coloration depends on habitat,
and provides camouflage. Tundra-dwelling arctic wolves are snow
white touched with gray or
black, while most forest-dwelling wolves range from shadowy
shades of gray or cream to brown
The wolf pack makes their den on a knoll or other high place
and near water. This provides a
good lookout against approaching danger and answers the nursing
female's daily requirement of
water. Wolves may move their den site two or three times to
ensure the pups' well-being. In
summer, the mother moves her pups from the den to the pack's
rendezvous site, or meeting place,
which is accessed by numerous routes. Here, the pups play while
the adults hunt. Reunited after
the hunt, young and old alike share in the bonding activity
of play. Wolves live on average about
7 years, but can live up to 13 years in the wild or 17 years
in captivity. Elderly wolves are cared
for by younger members of the pack.
Native Americans revered the wolf as an exemplar of the right
way for humans to live on the
Earth: as a skilled and efficient hunter, a lover of family
life, and a partner to communal living.
Unjustifiably vilified as "the big bad wolf," the
wolf is the most persecuted animal in history,
hunted practically to extinction in all but the most remote
wilderness regions of North America
and Eurasia. The wolf is now known to be an important predator
to keep populations of
ungulates such as moose and deer in check.
In the United States, the gray wolf (Canis lupus) is listed
as endangered in the Southwest and
threatened in the East and West. The red wolf (C. rufus) Is
critically endangered, surviving only
in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas; its genetic
uniqueness is further threatened by
interbreeding with coyotes (C. latrans).
Hunting primarily at night, wolves prey on elderly, young, and
sickly animals, since attacks on
healthy ones often end in defeat or injury. Their primary food
source in winter is ungulates such
as moose, elk, and deer, as well as smaller prey such as snowshoe
hare. In summer wolves take
advantage of the availability of beavers, geese, fish, insects,
and berries. Wolves have a keen
sense of smell, but they depend on wind currents to bring them
the scent of prey. Downwind,
they can pick up the scent of deer as far away as 1 mile (2.5km),
but upwind they cannot smell
moose as close as 325 feet (100m). By the time they are three
weeks old, pups begin to eagerly
greet adults returning from the hunt, who bear gifts of food
in their mouths. The pups jump up
and nip at their mouths until the food is regurgitated, then
fight with each other and their den
guardian over the spoils. In crusted snow, wolves have the advantage
over larger animals such as
caribou, which cannot run through the snow and are easily overtaken
by the 'snowshoeing' wolf
pack. Wolves are efficient eaters, consuming everything but
antlers, bones, fur, and stomach
During a blizzard, a wolf hunkers down by covering its nose
and paws with its tail and letting
itself be enveloped by the fallen snow. Snow cover provides
insulation from the cold while the
wolf waits out the storm. Beginning at dusk and sometimes continuing
until dawn, howling
keeps pack members in touch during their nighttime hunts, delineates
the boundaries of other
packs, and helps lone wolves attract mates. Wolves live in packs
of varying sizes, generally
comprised of about five to twelve related members. The alpha
male and female, who mate for
life, are the only breeding members, but all members care for
the pups. This social hierarchy is
altered only under special circumstances, such as death, disability,
or environmental pressures.
Traveling in single file, wolves follow in each other's footsteps
to give the appearance of
traveling alone. In snowy terrain, this also conserves energy.
In deep snow, wolves take
advantage of trails made by men or dog teams.
Wolves communicate vocally-by howls, growls, barks, yelps, and
whines-as well as by body
language. When reunited, they greet each other by wagging their
tails and by sniffing each
other's fur and licking muzzles. The dominant male often remains
aloof to his subordinates'
greetings. Wolves have tow coat layers. In summer, pups begin
to grow the long 'guard hairs' of
their outer coat, which covers the thick undercoat of soft fur.
By autumn, pups attain the fullcoated
look of adulthood, but with the return of warm spring weather
they shed excessive fur to
A wolf's howl can signal warning or welcome, depending on the
pitch. A low-pitched howl
warns against intruders, while a high-pitched howl welcomes
pack members back to their
rendezvous site. Depending on the sentiments of the human eavesdroppers,
wolves' howls have
been described as either disturbingly plaintive or hauntingly
beautiful. Howling is perhaps the
foremost distinguishing characteristic of wolves. It is believed
that wolves not only howl to
communicate but even for play. Everyone in the pack joins in
on the communal howl, including
pups. Like human singers, each wolf has its own unique voice.
Size of a pack's territory depends on the availability of food.
When food is adequate, the pack
may occupy the same territory for many generations. If the food
source is migratory, the pack
will follow the migration of prey. Wolves in search of food
can travel as many as 20 miles
(32km) in one day, and up to 185 miles (300km) in a few weeks.
A 'lone wolf' is an individual at the bottom of the pack's social
hierarchy who has been driven
out. It may follow on the tails of the pack and survive on leftovers,
or try to attract a mate and
establish its own pack. If it stumbles into the territory of
another pack, it may be killed. Only
about 10 to 15 percent of wolves are solitary.
The grasslands of the Northern Great Plains once teemed with
wildlife such as bison, elk, grizzly
bears, and wolves. Now designated a Global 200 ecoregion, the
plains re targeted for protection
and restoration by WWF and its partners in the Northern Plains
Conservation Network. The
wolf's habitat originally spanned most of the Northern Hemisphere.
Long persecuted by humans,
the gray wolf had been hunted and poisoned to near extinction
in the United States by the midtwentieth
century, narrowing its range to remote wilderness regions. In
North America, the wolf
can now be found only in Alaska, Canada, the northern regions
of Idaho, Montana, and
Minnesota, and a few parks and other areas where it has been
reintroduced. Fortunately for
wolves living in the artic, human encroachment has been slow
to penetrate their frigid wilderness
habitat, consequently their territory is less disturbed than
other wolves'. WWF conservation
efforts in Alaska include protecting the wolf's habitat from
Survival of gray wolves depends on availability of large undisturbed
forest land in which packs
may delineate their territorial boundaries. WWF and other conservation
ongoing deforestation and fragmentation of territory as the
greatest threats to the wolf's survival.
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