May 13, 2019
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Wolves have inspired fear, awe and superstition in humans for millennia.
The earliest drawings of wolves in caves in southern Europe date from 20,000 B.C.
Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood to take on the wolf's spirit in battle.
But once again, the wolf's greatest enemy as been humankind.
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Today's Random Fact:
A male and female that mate usually stay together for life. They are devoted parents and maintain sophisticated family ties.
A wolf pack may contain just two or three animals, or it may be 10 times as large.
Though many females in a pack are able to have pups, only a few will actually mate and bear pups. Often, only the alpha female and male will mate, which serves to produce the strongest cubs and helps limit the number of cubs the pack must care for.
Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls.
Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone.
Wolves were once the most widely distributed land predator the world has ever seen. The only places they didn't thrive were in the true desert and rainforests.
Britain's King Edgar imposed an annual tax of 300 wolf skins on Wales. The Welsh wolf population was quickly exterminated.
In 1500, the last wolf was killed in England. In 1770, Ireland's last wolf was killed. In 1772, Denmark's last wolf was killed.
In 1927, a French policeman was tried for the shooting of a boy he believed was a werewolf. That same year, the last wild wolves in France were killed.
Currently, there are about 50,000 wolves in Canada; 6,500 in Alaska; and 3,500 in the Lower 48 States. In Europe, Italy has fewer than 300; Spain around 2,000; and Norway and Sweden combined have fewer than 100.