If a wolf runs through the forest but nobody hears it, does it make a sound? Yes he does. Thanks to technology and a clever little collar camera, we can now hear and see what a wild wolf from northwest Minnesota is doing with his day.
A researcher from the Voyageurs Wolf project attached the collar-mounted device while the wolf was sedated. Thereafter, 30 seconds of video was recorded at the beginning of each daylight hour. This gave the scientists a brief – and thanks to the abundant fur-framed mane of the wolf – window into his life. The footage is considered the first of its kind. The lone wolf (# V089) shows a hand for fishing. According to VWP, “it eats three different fish, all of which were killed and eaten in the same place along the Ash River.”
In a previous article, 10 things I wish I knew about dogs, we recorded a video from the same group (see point 5). It also documented something researchers suspected: During the mid to late summer months, wolves in northeast Minnesota often eat wild blueberries and raspberries. An analysis of their diet during those months found that these berries accounted for between 56 and 83 percent of their intake. According to the group, this doesn’t mean wolves prefer berries to their typical prey. Rather, in July and August it is more difficult to catch the typical prey of wolves (deer fawns and beavers), and so wolves turn to a food source that is abundant and uses little energy. “
The more we learn about wolves, the more important it is to protect them. And yes, they need protection. Why? Here’s a recent example: On April 21, 2021, the Idaho Senate passed a bill that would allow the state to hire private contractors to kill up to 90 percent of the state’s wolves, if approved by the Chamber of the House . The number of wolves that hunters can kill would be abolished, and hunting with motorized vehicles and the use of night vision devices would be permitted. Senator Mark Harris (R District 32), one of the sponsors of the bill, said, “We are supposed to have 15 packs and 150 wolves. We’re up to 1,553, something like that. They destroy ranchers. They destroy wildlife. “
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We suspect that scientists studying wolves would be different.
According to Project Coyote, “wolves cause less than 1% of cattle deaths, and any destruction can be properly managed without that bill. Killing wolves at this rate only supports decisions to reassign the protection of the Endangered Species Act to them. The majority of Idahoans and Americans support wolf recovery at a level where wolves can perform their ecological functions. Almost no one supports wasting taxpayers money rescuing wolves only to exterminate them. “For more information, see this article in the New York Times.