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Wolf-dog Hybrid Leading a
Wild Wolf Pack

One of the main arguments wolf-dog hybrid breeders use to support their breeding is that these exotic canines enhance the public's acceptance of reintroduced wolves, and wild wolves in general. They also maintain that wolf-dog hybrid breeding does NOTHING to harm wolf reintroduction efforts.

Other than the bad press the Wolf-dog hybrids have gotten across the country, mostly due to incompetent owners, what of the wolf-dog hybrids irresponsibly released into the wild? It surely does happen, and has been documented over time. Most die a slow, hard death from starvation or attacks by other predators. What of the ones that survive?

His name was Que Bear.  He was large (120#) high content black wolf-dog hybrid, purchased from one of the thousands of irresponsible  breeders.

From the time he was little more than a handful of fluff, the man had allowed him to come and go as he pleased.  They lived in the wilderness, near the river.  There was always food at the man den, but by the time Bear was 6 months he mostly hunted his own from the abundance of small creatures surrounding the cabin.

Life was good.  The man played with him, but when the man was gone, Bear could roam the wilderness near home for as long as he pleased, always checking back to see if the man had returned.  As he grew, Bear roamed farther a-field.  By the time he reached a year of age, he was often gone for 2 or 3 days at a time.  Sometimes he came back with wounds, and stayed by the cabin till they healed.  He would then venture forth again into the wilderness.

As Bear approached the age of 2, he was more often absent than with the man. He might be gone for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.  Then came the time that Bear came 'home' no more.  He had been gone for about 2 months, when the river flooded, and took the cabin with it.  The man looked for Bear a day or 2 before he left the area for good.  Bear was on his own.

Not everyone stopped looking for this handsome wolf-dog hybrid.  He was seen fleetingly in the area of the former cabin.  Those sightings quickly became fewer and farther between.

Then Bear found a new home in the wilderness.  No one knows how it happened, but Bear was seen LEADING the Willow wolf pack!  Sightings of this animal leading the pack were made for the next 2 years.  He was unmistakable, because of a doggy- looking light patch, where no wolf would have one.

After 2 years leading the pack, there was no more sign of Bear, anywhere.  One can only believe he finally succumbed to the wilderness. No remains were found.

Did he reproduce while leading that pack?  The pack had pups, so it would be pretty safe to assume that he did.  Did all those pups stay only with that pack, or did they disperse?  Are other local and distant packs affected by the dog genes from Que Bear?  By now those genes would be very dilute, but could continue to produce an odd pup here or there.

Could the wolf that had been habituated and then grabbed a child in the Cordova, AK area have been a small part dog?   Your guess is as good as mine, as the animal was never tested to see if he was indeed pure wolf. No one questioned it.

Those who maintain that released hybrids and/or feral dogs *never* interfere with the life of a wild pack are wrong.  Another example can be seen in the Mexican wolf HYBRID litter in New Mexico that was euthanized in September of 2002. The rationale for their destruction is that they would have destroyed the integrity of Mexican Wolf reintroduction.

Is this alone a reason not to breed wolf hybrids? No, but it IS one more piece of the puzzle leading to that conclusion.


Wildwood Express - News from Wolf Country
by the International Wolf Center

Are wolves Dangerous to Humans?

Two recent reports on wolf-human interactions indicate that attacks by healthy, wild wolves do occur, but are rare and unusual events despite growing numbers of wolves throughout the world.  The first report, "The fear of wolves: A review of wolf attacks on humans" edited by John Linnell, documents worldwide wolf attacks over the last 400 years.  After reviewing hundreds of records, this report concludes that historically attacks on humans were very rare, and attacks in the 20th century are even rarer.

The second report, "A case history of wolf-human encounters in Alaska and Canada" by Mark McNay, documents 80 wolf-human interactions that have occurred in the last 60 years.  Of the 80 cases described in this article, none were fatal, and only 25 involved unprovoked aggression by healthy wolves.  The other 55 cases consisted of interactions where wolves acted in self-defense (14), were known or suspected to have rabies (12) or showed interest, but no aggression (29).

It is important to keep wolf attacks in perspective. Most wolves are not dangerous to humans and there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning, bee sting or car collision with a deer than being injured by a wolf. Of the unprovoked attacks by healthy, wild wolves that have occurred, most were caused by a few wolves that became fearless of humans due to habituation.
Nonetheless, like bears and cougars, wolves are instinctive predators that should be kept wild and respected.

What if they aren't pure wolf? Do the dynamics change?



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