First winter snow at International Wolf Center

This video from Minnesota in the USA says about itself:

International Wolf Center – First Snow of Winter – 20 November 2015

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.

‘Wolves more intelligent than dogs’, new research

This video says about itself:

Wolves and dog

10 February 2009

Friendship of the wolves and the German Shepherd

By Bob Yirka:

Wolves found to be better at problem-solving task than domesticated dogs

September 16, 2015

(—Monique Udell, a researcher with Oregon State University, has found via experimentation, that domestic dogs appear to have lost some of their problem solving abilities as a result of their long history with humans. In her paper published in the journal Biology Letters, she describes a study she carried out and offers some theories on why she believe domesticated dogs may have lost some of their natural skills.

Udell notes that have long been known to work with people as they go about their lives, in contrast to animals in the wild—one such striking behavior is their tendency to look back at their human companion when faced with a perplexing situation—seemingly asking for help. To learn more about this behavior, Udell enlisted the assistance of ten dogs that live as pets (and their owners), ten that live in shelters, and ten that have been raised by humans.

Each of the animals was presented with a tasty sausage, which they were allowed to sniff, but not eat. Instead, the sausage was placed inside of a with a snap-on lid connected to a short length of rope. To open the , the animals needed to pull on the rope while holding down the container—a task Udell deemed relatively easy for animals as smart as dogs and wolves. Udell conducted the experiments in two ways, one where the animal was left alone with the container, the other where there was a human (their owners) standing close by.

Udell reports that none of the pet dogs was able to open the container and just one of the was able to do so, but eight of the ten wolves succeeded. The presence of a person nearby didn’t help much, the same number of wolves succeeded and one pet did so. She notes that all of the dogs from both groups spent a lot more of their time looking at the person, than did the wolves. Next, Udell allowed a human to offer encouragement to the dogs—doing so increased the success rate of the shelter dogs, four of them opened the container, but still just one pet dog was able to do it.

The experiment is intriguing Udell notes, because all of the dogs and wolves were capable of opening the container, but only the wolves were truly motivated to do so, as demonstrated by a much higher level of persistence—the dogs on the other hand appeared much more ready to ask for help.

More information: When dogs look back: inhibition of independent problem-solving behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) compared with wolves (Canis lupus), Biology Letters, Published 16 September 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0489


Domestic dogs have been recognized for their social sensitivity and aptitude in human-guided tasks. For example, prior studies have demonstrated that dogs look to humans when confronted with an unsolvable task; an action often interpreted as soliciting necessary help. Conversely, wolves persist on such tasks. While dogs’ ‘looking back’ behaviour has been used as an example of socio-cognitive advancement, an alternative explanation is that pet dogs show less persistence on independent tasks more generally.

In this study, pet dogs, shelter dogs and wolves were given up to three opportunities to open a solvable puzzle box: when subjects were with a neutral human caretaker, alone and when encouraged by the human. Wolves were more persistent and more successful on this task than dogs, with 80% average success rate for wolves versus a 5% average success rate for dogs in both the human-in and alone conditions. Dogs showed increased contact with the puzzle box during the encouragement condition, but only a moderate increase in problem-solving success. Social sensitivity appears to play an important role in pet and shelter dogs’ willingness to engage in problem-solving behaviour, which could suggest generalized dependence on, or deference to, human action.

International Wolf Center in autumn

This video from Minnesota in the USA says about itself:

19 September 2015

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The “Dog Days of August” extended into September creating some warm, windy days. But, fall is in the air and the pack dynamics are bound to change.

Wolves back in California after almost a century

This video from the USA says about itself:

20 August 2015

Wildlife officials in California say they have photographic evidence of the first gray wolf pack in the state in nearly a century. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife captured images of two black-furred gray wolf adults and five pups in northern California. Other than a lone wolf spotted in 2011, official say the so-called Shasta Pack are the first confirmed wolves in the state since 1924. Trail cameras recorded individual images of the two adults, as well as one photo of the pups, which appear to be a few months old. Wolves used to be seen regularly in California, but they are now considered endangered by both the state and federal government.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

First wolf pack found in California in nearly a century

Fears hunters may kill newly discovered canine group

Siobhan Fenton

Friday 21 August 2015

A wolf pack has been spotted in California for the first time in nearly a century.

Two adults and five pups have been confirmed in southeastern Siskiyou County. Local ranchers tending to their herds told authorities they had spotted the animals.

State and federal authorities subsequently confirmed the sightings after a remote camera captured photos of the pack.

Read more:

Stuffed Arctic wolf worth £32,000 stolen in London
Litter of wolf pups ‘first’ of its kind to be born in UK

The state’s grey wolf population became extinct in 1924. They were named the Shasta pack, after the nearby Mount Shasta.

Karen Kovacs, from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said she was stunned by the news of the wolves’ return. She believes they have most likely migrated from Oregon’s north-eastern corner.

It is hoped DNA tests might be able to give a more accurate understanding of the animals’ backgrounds.

The canines are protected by federal and state endangered species legislation but Amaroq Weiss, from the Centre for Biological Diversity, said local conservationists are concerned the wolves could still fall victim to hunters as hunting season gets underway in the area.

See also here.

New golden jackal species discovery in Africa

This video says about itself:

DNA analysis: The African golden jackal is a WOLF

1 August 2015

Golden jackals of Africa and Eurasia are two distantly related species.

This is according to new DNA analysis carried on both of the lineages.

Lineage of new species split from that of gray wolves 1.3 million years ago.

The Eurasian golden jackal lineage split about 600,000 years earlier.

From Wildlife Extra:

New Golden Jackal species discovered

For the first time in 150 years a new canid species has been discovered in Africa, by scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The Golden Jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered the same species as the Golden Jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East.

However, recent research indicates that they are actually two different species and that some African Golden Jackals aligned more closely to Gray Wolves (Canis lupus).

This is surprising given the absence of Gray Wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species.

The DNA results of the study provide consistent and robust evidence that populations of Golden Jackals from Africa and Eurasia should be recognised as two separate and distinct species, and it has been suggested that the Eurasian species should be named Eurasian Golden Jackal.

Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species: here.

‘Dutch’ wolf killed by truck in Germany

This video says about itself:

Wolf spotted in Netherlands for first time in over 100 years

13 March 2015

A wolf has been seen in the Netherlands for the first time in over a century, with footage showing the predator trotting around near a railway track in Noord-Sleen.

Translated from the Dutch ARK conservationists:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The wolf which this spring briefly visited the Netherlands was killed. On April 15, a dead wolf was found on the A7 motorway at Berkhof in Germany. DNA research has shown that this was the same animal which visited the Netherlands and Lower Saxony, say Landesjägerschaft Lower Saxony and Lower Saxony Wolfsbüro.

Research shows that the animal was killed by a truck.

Bring wolves back to Britain

This video is called Wolf pups (Canis lupus) – Wolf behavior.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

No need to cry wolf over its reintroduction to Britain

Friday 19th June 2015

By 1760, the wolf was hunted to extinction in Britain. However, there is today a compelling environmental argument for it to be brought back, says PETER FROST

When Theresa May accused the police of crying wolf she conveniently forgot that in the legend there really was a wolf.

The wolf is a majestic animal that once roamed throughout almost every corner of the globe.

As human settlements and hunters expanded into previously unpopulated areas, wolf populations were persecuted or even driven to extinction.

The English wolf — a subspecies of Canis lupus — once roamed and hunted throughout the British Isles. But it was hunted itself with the last animal being killed around 1590 and the last Scottish survivor some 200 years later.

By 1760, the wolf was completely extinct in Britain.

It first arrived in these Isles 10,000 to 12,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. Packs of wolves followed the migrating herds of deer, boar and grazing animals as they moved north when the ice receded.

A 6th-century Pictish carving of a wolf found in the Scottish highlands is the first real evidence of the animal in our islands. Skeletal remains prove that wolves lived throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

A male wolf can average 43–45kg (95–99lb) and females 36–38.5kg (79–85lb). Where winters are hard fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled grey in colour but some can be pure white, red, or brown to black.

Accounts from a thousand years ago mention wolf hunting as a way to pay tribute to kings and nobles. Mary, Queen of Scots was just one royal among many who organised and participated in wolf hunts.

The wolf crops up in all sorts of legends. Romulus and Remus the twin sons of Mars, the god of War who founded Rome, were raised by a she wolf. Gelert in Wales was the heroic dog who defended a baby prince from a wolf and was killed in a cruel misunderstanding.

The Little Red Riding Hood story perhaps did most to give the wolf a bad name and, alongside a dozen more wolf legends, testifies to the long love and hate relationship between the wolf and human societies.

Canada’s best known environmental writer and life-long socialist Farley Mowat saw the wolf differently. His 1963 book Never Cry Wolf was an account of his positive experiences with wolves, the film of the same name was released in 1983.

Over the last half a century some bold ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts have suggested reintroducing the wolf to Britain. Our food chain lacks larger carnivores so animals like deer and wild boar have no natural predators.

Deer populations, both native and imported species, have rocketed and now the huge numbers are a real threat both to arable farmers and to ancient forests and traditional woodlands.

Deer have just one predator and that is the human shooter out for venison or simply to cull deer herd numbers.

Our English wolf was a closely related subspecies of the grey wolf, which is the most common species of wolf worldwide.

Now the pure bred English wolf is no more, reintroduction programmes would bring closely related wolves from mainland Europe, where the wolf is already making a comeback.

Scientists have established that re-introducing the wolf into the Scottish highlands could help control deer herds, and preserve the forest ecosystem from destruction as a result of deer overpopulation.

They also believe that small controlled wild wolf populations would cause very little disruption to farmed stock although a farmer compensation scheme would probably be needed.

Will they attack people? The wolf is one of the world’s best known and well researched animals. Although the fear of wolves is common the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies, so human attacks are most unlikely and easily controlled.

They are certainly not a convincing argument not to bring back the wolf.

The benefits for wildlife tourism would be enormous. Who wouldn’t travel to a remote Scottish mountain national park for the chance to see and even photograph these magnificent creatures?

Sadly our new Tory government is more likely to take the side of farmers and shooting syndicates as they have over the destruction of birds of prey.

Wolves would need careful management, but careful management is something we desperately need in many fields if we are to protect and enhance our landscape, flora and fauna.

Judging from her previous actions in the last government we are not likely to see anything like careful management from Liz Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and her increasingly subservient team at Natural England and Defra.

Truss and her team have proved they are more likely to listen to grouse moor owners, pheasant shooting estates and even fox hunts than to any really concerned environmental organisation or individuals.

Sadly this time, I am not crying wolf.