National Wolf Awareness Week - Only 97 Mexican Grey Wolves Remaining!

National Wolf Awareness Week - Only 97 Mexican Grey Wolves Remaining!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 10th Oct 2016

Wolves are an often misunderstood animal. Historically and culturally, they have been characterised as villains, while also playing a role in many myths and superstitions. They are feared and targeted, with many people taking simplistic action to deal with conflicts that can arise between humans and wolves. This usually involves hunting and trying to eradicate them. National Wolf Awareness Week is about highlighting these issues by educating people on the importance of wolves and raising awareness of the threats they face. It is marked in October every year, primarily in America, since the wolf is considered an endangered species in most US states.

Wolf Population Today

Hundreds of thousands of wolves used to live in the US but they were almost completely wiped out by the middle of the 20th century. In fact, only a small number of wolves survived, in Minnesota, despite the fact that they once lived across 48 other states. Protections were then put in place to re-establish wolf populations. Today there are about 3,700 grey wolves in the Great Lakes region of the US, and over 1,600 in the Northern Rockies. This is in addition to the 7,000 to 11,000 living in Alaska. The situation for the Mexican grey wolf in America is much bleaker, as it was fully wiped out there. They were practically eliminated in Mexico too, with only a handful surviving in captivity. A breeding programme was introduced to increase population levels, and by 1998 some were released into the wild. Today there are about 97.

Threats Wolves Face

As with many animals, the greatest threat is people. Many people regard wolves as pests who pose a risk to both humans and livestock. This has put the wolf in conflict with humans, despite the fact that attacks on humans are rare, and it is uncommon for wolves to kill livestock. Hunters are also a threat to wolves, although not necessarily because they want to hunt them. Instead they view wolves as a threat to their hunting opportunities, worried about wolves killing prized prey before they get a chance to do it themselves. This is another misconception, though, as wolves actually help maintain the ecosystem by killing mainly weak deer or elk for food. Habitat loss is another issue, with wolves occupying a small proportion of the area they used to roam. Legal protections are also a concern in the US. In some states they are no longer considered endangered.

What Needs To Be Done

One of the main aims of National Wolf Awareness Week is to improve the reputation of the wolf in US society. Instead of people fearing and disliking wolves, the organisers want people to respect their role in the wider ecosystem. They also want to show that people and wolves can coexist, and to highlight the many success stories where this is happening. In addition, they are working to maintain the legal protections afforded to wolves by their listing as an endangered species. Throughout the awareness week, events are held to help educate people about wolves and raise awareness of their plight, and to bring attention to fundraising efforts.

Wolves fighting


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