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Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center in Chattanooga, TN sent us this video of red wolf Kane at age 13! Those of you who have been following this page for a long time will remember this magnificent wolf and his partner, "Old Mom." Kane is huge - a linebacker! Old Mom (Betty's litter mate, nearly 16 years old!) is relatively petite like Betty. Kane had a long history of being aggressive toward his female partners, so he was moved a few times to see if he could be paired with a wolf who would refuse to put up with his nonsense. Several years ago, in a last attempt to find Kane a partner, the big guy was paired with Old Mom. Each wolf was given a treat. Mom went straight to Kane, snatched his treat away from him, and ate both pieces of meat, hers and his. Kane submitted to this feisty and dominant lady, and he has done so ever since. They are a most harmonious couple!

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Solving problems means listening. ~ Richard Branson

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Mark your calendars! Another great WEBINAR by Dr. Joey Hinton!

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INTERVIEW FROM GALVESTON ISLAND!

This interview aired last night in the Galveston/Houston area. Thanks to advocate Lucy Colby for sending us the link this morning. It is accompanied by an A.P. article that circulated widely yesterday and that contains a quote from Kim Wheeler, the RWC Executive Director, urging that more molecular genetic studies need to be done throughout the areas of Texas and Louisiana where large canids (clearly not garden-variety coyotes) continue to be observed. It would be remarkable if these animals on Galveston Island were an actual remnant population of red wolves, but that is not yet known. As Kim says, science needs to do its "due diligence." Meanwhile, this IS exciting and intriguing news!

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Help us to save red wolves j 🐺
Im always there for you just please help me to help them j 🐺

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“He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music. Maybe it was the song in their own hearts that they walked to.”
― Laura Adams Armer, Waterless Mountain

Red wolves Peanut and Shy at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo by Jack Bradley
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The 9 1/2-month old pups (they will be "pups" until their first birthday, and then they will be "yearlings") at the Museum of Life and Science defer to Dad's refusal to play. The pup in the foreground displays a typical submissive posture: flattened ears, lowered body. In the background, the pup's ears are not erect, and the tip of his tongue protrudes. Mom (on the left) looks like she is headed off for some peace and quiet!

Thanks to Robert Wilcox for sharing this photo from his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/robert.wilcox.564813).
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We continue to thank Robert Wilcox for his generous sharing of the photos and videos he posts on his Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/robert.wilcox.564813. This photo shows 9 1/2-month-old pup 2247 chilling out at the top of the ridge. Enjoy the comment thread which includes Lisa Othen's photos of the M1803 (Dad) family tree!
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WOLF BEHAVIOR 101 - Part 3

Dominance in a Wolf Pack - and Discarding the Term "ALPHA"

A wolf pack is a family - Mom, Dad (the breeding pair), the pups of the year and older siblings that have not dispersed. Despite the old myths that persisted in the common wisdom before researchers like the Muries and L. David Mech actually conducted extended observations of wolf packs in the wild, wolves do not compete for the position of "top dog" in the family. While some wolves are more dominant than others and some more submissive, it is the parents who are in charge. Thus, the term "alpha" is no longer accepted among scientists because that implies that this exalted status is obtained by being the biggest and the baddest and the best at beating up challengers. Not true. However, the term refuses to go away, and it still creates confusion and misrepresentation.

A wolf pack is formed when an unrelated male and female who have left their respective natal packs get together, bond with one another, find an unoccupied territory with prey (unless they are tundra wolves that follow the caribou migrations), and raise a family. As parents, the two breeders automatically assume the undisputed authoritarian roles in the family. Both parents raise and care for the pups, dole out affection and reprimands, provide food, teach the kids the fine points of catching prey - and insist that the youngsters of all ages keep their places in the hierarchy. Disciplinary actions that appear harsh (but inflict little or no injury) are common. Fighting with the intent to harm is rare to non-existent. A wolf pack's survival depends on cooperation, not on competition, and precious energy is not typically wasted on needless brawling. Wolves will, however, attack and kill intruders or hapless dispersers who venture onto occupied territory.

In the wild, young wolves who frequently display dominant behaviors may very well be the first to disperse and to seek mates of their own. It's possible as well that the more submissive youngsters stick around for two or three years or even longer to help the parents raise the annual passel of kids.

If one of the parents dies or is too old to breed, the family may fragment and dissolve. On the other hand, the remaining parent may take a new mate, typically an unrelated outsider. This has been documented in Yellowstone and in the High Arctic as well as in North Carolina, where one male who had produced 7 robust litters lost his breeding status simply because of old age. He was replaced by another breeding male, but the old wolf remained with the pack where he lived to be over 13 years old - almost unheard of in the wild!

A NOTE ABOUT CAPTIVE WOLVES:

In captivity, red wolves in the Red Wolf SSP are maintained as family units, and interactions with humans are limited to the extent possible. The parents raise the kids, but the kids obviously cannot disperse, and some of the friction displayed may be exacerbated by that factor.

A number wildlife centers maintain groups of unrelated gray wolves that have been hand-raised by humans. There may be some siblings in these groups, but the parents are usually absent, and the various wolves are placed together with everyone hoping they can get along and sort out their relationships and establish a hierarchy that keeps them from injury-inflicting battles or from ganging up on one member of the group. Unfortunately, confusion arises because sometimes interpreters refer to these resident wolf groups as a pack, and then they talk to visitors about the competition for "pack leader" among the wolves and who has achieved the position of "alpha." Sometimes (NOT always!) care is not taken to explain to visitors the difference between these captive group and wild wolf packs. These unrelated or loosely-related captive wolves do not interact the way that a true pack (family) does. There is often intense testing and competition among the members of the group, and curators must be vigilant so that submissive members do not get hurt or killed. The dynamics of these captive groups are very different from the dynamics of a true wolf pack, which is a family of directly-related individuals.

Alpha implies dominance achieved by strength, testing, and competition. That is not how it works with wolves in the wild - or with canids like African wild dogs, for instance.

READ: https://www.wolf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/winter2008.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0CUDhhR8wthbZ0ZZ2QCeSP0D0LxAkXFTPQsVZ5gsw0H8JXjmdPTQNIHII - PAGE 4 - "Whatever Happened to the Term "Alpha Wolf?"

Photo: Red wolf parents (formerly called the "alphas"), Museum of Life and Science, Durham, North Carolina.
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WOLF BEHAVIOR 101, Part 1

This photo by Robert Wilcox at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC is the first of two back-to-back posts, the second one a video. The father wolf, M1803, is disciplining his son, M2247, the result of the youngster's helping himself to one of Dad's food caches. In a flash, Dad pins his upstart son and (as the video below clearly shows) delivers a lesson in respect for the family hierarchy. M2247 is grimacing slightly as he submits, but the impression of violence and physical harm is a false one. Dad is making a powerful disciplinary statement - not an attack with the intention of hurting his adolescent son.
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