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Wolf Awareness Week

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Fact Sheets



Wolves have long been admired for their close knit family groups and social interaction. They usually live, travel and hunt in family groups, consisting of an alpha, or dominant pair, their pups and several subordinate wolves.

Wolves communicate through facial expressions and body postures, scent marking, growls, barks, whimpers and howls. Howls can mean many things: a greeting, a rallying cry to gather the pack for a hunt, a warning to other wolves, or a sign of bonding. Pups begin to howl at one month old.

Highly intelligent and equipped with keen eyesight, acute hearing and an exceptional sense of smell - up to 100 times more sensitive than that of humans - wolves easily adapt to their surroundings. Weighing 60 to 140 pounds and reaching 5 to 6 feet long from nose to tail, gray wolves mostly feed on large animals such as deer, elk, moose, caribou and antelope, though they'll also hunt smaller prey such as beavers and rabbits. They mate in late winter and usually produce around six pups two months later.

Sadly, wolves have been long been persecuted, perceived as a threat to livestock. What was once a healthy population of 250,000 wolves in the contiguous United States was reduced by 99.8 percent to about 450 animals in the late 1960s.

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