NOVA

Wild Wolves

Student Handout

Wolf Facts

General Facts

  • Wolves have no natural predators except people.

  • Wolves can cover extremely large distances and have been known to travel up to 15 km (about 9 mi) a day.

  • A typical wolf pack may have a range of up to 130 sq km (50 sq mi) of territory.

Wolf Behavior Facts

  • Wolves are social animals that depend on each other for food and protection.

  • A wolf pack, which will tend to stay together, can vary in number from a pair of animals to 10 wolves. Adult wolves share responsibility for caring for young.

  • Wolves are generally afraid of people and avoid contact with them.

  • Wolves can kill animals that are quite large, usually by isolating a weak or young animal, and chasing and attacking it in a group.

  • Canadian wolves generally prey on elk.

  • Normally, wolves consume everything they kill. Other predators or scavengers will quickly consume a dead animal, making it difficult to determine a cause of death.

Policy Facts
  • Wolves are often released in a process known as soft release; they are kept in pens to help them adjust to a new environment for 10 weeks. This process significantly eliminates the wolves' homing instinct and prevents them from trying to return to their original territory.

  • The federal government pays for the wolf relocation program.

  • Many ranchers have federal grazing preferences—they are allowed to let their animals graze on federal land.

  • The Endangered Species Act allows a two-strike policy; after its first interaction with livestock, a wolf is moved to a distant site. After its second interaction, a wolf may be trapped or shot.



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