A Human Howls

I speak, I speak, for wolves!
I spill the word wolf my w loves
I spill over lip of hill the still
world a wolf world

I speak, I speak, for wolves!
I sing to howl my wolves in o's
I sing through rings of vowels around
wolves, to resound wolves

I speak, I speak, for wolves!
I sew to loop my l to tell
I sow under snow seed syllables
to grow words as wolf words

I speak, I speak, for wolves!
I slip to flow my wolves in f's
I slip through rivers sip to sip
I follow a wolf-flow


¡Protecciones Para Los Lobos!

Photo license:   Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

The Mexican Wolf, Canis lupus baileyi, or “Lobo,” is a subspecies of the North American Gray Wolf, and currently protected under the Endangered Species Act as such. Due to extremely low numbers of Lobos in the wild (they currently exist in the states of Arizona and New Mexico), many believe this subspecies should be classified separately. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson passed a bill to increase protections of the Lobo in 2010. However, such a small population is in constant danger of extinction from poachers, disease, and legislation. Recent data from a 2010 count found that approximately 50 Mexican Wolves exist in the wild.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife policies toward Gray Wolves vary from region to region, over the continental U.S. and Alaska. Mexican Gray Wolves are found in the Southwest Region 2, and on the agency’s website are listed as “Experimental, non-essential (EXPN):”

“The non-essential experimental population designation for Mexican wolves allows for  greater management flexibility to address conflict situations, such as livestock depredations or nuisance behavior, than if wolves had retained the fully endangered designation… Reintroduction of a top predator such as the Mexican wolf is highly complex and often controversial. It is important to understand the role Mexican wolves are playing on the landscape, including all of the potential biological, social and economic impacts – be they good, bad, or indifferent. In order to continually evaluate this role, an Interagency Field Team (IFT) has been formed and has the primary responsibilities of collecting data, monitoring, and managing the free-ranging Mexican wolf population. A series of 23 Standard Operating Procedures have been formalized to ensure consistency in management of the wolf population. Equally important is the IFT’s close interaction and involvement with local communities directly affected by wolf recovery.” [1]

Policies of the U.S. Forest Service also have an impact on successful predator management. From all outward appearances, the U.S. Forest Service prioritizes the interests of ranchers, leasing over 500,000 acres in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest alone, for livestock grazing (this is happening in public lands nation-wide). Wolves are perceived to be a threat to livestock by ranchers and the public at large, so this sets up an immediate conflict with human interests. To be fair, there are positives to ranchers’ leasing of public lands (and surrounding private lands), not least of which is deterrence from development of the large tracts necessary for predators and migrating prey to live. However, this practice must be managed carefully by prioritizing conservation.

Perhaps we need to re-evaluate the environmental policies and priorities of the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the federal government at large. U.S. Fish and Wildlife currently plans to cull populations of wolves in Alaska and Idaho for the benefit of hunters, and what is perceived to be the benefit of the prey animals they hunt. This agency collects large sums of money through the granting of hunting licenses and permits. While this money is desperately needed, it sets up a conflict of interest between the wants and needs of hunters, and the protection of large predators in particular. Should U.S. Fish and Wildlife focus more of its money on educating hunters and the public at large on the vital importance of conserving our fast disappearing wild lands and wild life? Should they be making more efforts to de-mythologize the wolf through public education projects, and present this animal for its value as well as its challenges? These are important questions to ask at a time when financial woes can lead to impulsive, destructive, and often irreversible decisions.

There are currently efforts in the U.S. House and Senate to de-list the Gray Wolf from endangered species protections. Please write to your representatives! This legislation would leave wolves vulnerable to eradication in the continental U.S., and would set a dangerous precedent for other species as well.

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, web. http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/

Coming Full Circle: Wolf Moon to Wolf Moon

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On Friday evening, January 21st, poet Andrew Schelling celebrated the full Wolf Moon with his annual poetry reading – accompanied by Mark Miller on flute and saxaphone – at the Hakubai Temple, in Boulder, Colorado (there’s a post from last year’s event).

Schelling read from his soon-to-be-published collection: Arapaho Songbook (Alameda Press), in which the wolf “speaks,” and is spoken of, with tender and vigilant concern. The cover features a Frederic Remington painting of a lone Gray Wolf beneath the starry sky, eyes glowing like two more stars in the night. It’s a fitting cover for a work that draws inspiration from the study of local Arapaho language and culture, a culture going back hundreds of years to a time when wolves were respected residents of this area. More to come…

Grand Mauvais Loup – L’image Dominante

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Grand Mauvais Loup (Big Bad Wolf) is the pervasive image of canis lupus. This morning, on Christmas day, I was pleased to hear Daniel Pinkwater read his story, Wolf Christmas, on NPR – so much so, that I wrote the following letter:

Dear NPR,

Daniel Pinkwater’s story for children, “Wolf Christmas,” is a refreshing change from the stereotypical portrayals of the wolf as an “evil” character in traditional Western fairy tales and contemporary media.

Wolves once ranged over the entire North American continent, and figured prominently in Native American stories, where they were recognized as integral members of a shared world. Admired for keen hunting skills and strong devotion to family, wolves were seen as role models for qualities that indigenous people, and indeed people of all cultures aspire to.

Pinkwater’s story illustrates several key elements of wolf behavior and social structure—dominance of the alpha male and female; supportive roles of beta wolvesappropriately for young children.  In addition, the story alludes to dangers wolves face in our human world, where they are misunderstood and often cruelly persecuted.  It’s time we changed our mythology of the wolf to a more fair and balanced view, and “Wolf Christmas” is a wonderful contribution toward that aim.


Suzanne DuLany

I strongly encourage folks to send original stories (for children, adults, or both!) to humansforwolves@gmail.com for posting on our prose page.

Many blessings for the coming year, for humans and for wolves!

Eco-Poetry Reading in Austin, TX

Artist Maps a Wolf World

Click once on the image to enlarge. Then click again to magnify. Find the camouflaged poem, “Loss of Howls,” which is also on the Poetry page.

Deanna Miesch is an artist and art therapist working in Austin, Texas.

Legal Victory for Wolves!

Howling wolves at a sanctuary in Pennsylvania

On August 5th, a federal judge ruled that U.S. Fish and Wildlife illegally removed gray wolves in Montana and Idaho from the Endangered Species List in 2009. Wolves in the Northern Rockies are officially re-listed and will not be hunted again this fall (they are still hunted in Alaska).  Sincere gratitude to Judge Molloy, and to the numerous environmental organizations who fought the battle in court.  Here is a link to the ruling: http://wolves.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/10-08-05-doc-163-sj-order.pdf

And a link to the Center for Biological Diversity’s “Gray Wolf Recovery” plan: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/gray-wolf-national-petition-07-20-2010.html

Canis Lupus (for Kent Weber), by Jennifer Phelps

Palms to the sky

If you open your palms to the sky, arms halfway
outstretched, one might come to you if you are lucky.

And if you are lucky, you must not pull away
although it is human instinct. If one
comes to you, nipping at your forearm or nibbling
the twisted threads hung at your wrist,

remember the skin is foreign to clean
white teeth. Do not fully extend your arms or
pull them away. Do not turn your back or giggle
with nervousness when your fear sets in.

Because it will. If you are lucky, you must unlearn
what you have been taught about big ears and teeth
and breath that has no odor. When one comes to you
and the mouth opens directly in front of your nose

you will see into a darkness larger than your head.
Then, you must wait. If you are lucky and one comes to you,
you must not pull away. Instead, grab the neck
with both hands and pull the wide face closer to you.

There, you must look directly into the yellow eyes,
bear your teeth and allow the mouth larger than
the size of your head to nuzzle into your grimace.
You must keep your eyes open at all times

then, you will discover what it means to be wild.

Yellow eyes

Photographs: Kent Weber

A Trip to Mission: Wolf, Westcliffe,Colorado

Kent Weber of Mission Wolf with visitors

Speaking about wolves.

Illiamna & friend

Magpie kisses a visitor in greeting

Visitors with Ambassador Wolves

Magpie takes a break

Response from Colorado Senator Mark Udall

On April 6th, I wrote a letter to Senator Mark Udall concerning the removal of the Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species Act (posted earlier in the month).  Below is his response.  You may click on the image of the letter to enlarge.

Ambassador Magpie of Mission: Wolf

On April 16th, Kent Weber of Mission: Wolf brought three ambassador wolves to the University of Colorado, Boulder, as part of Month of the Wolf.  Magpie, the elder Gray Wolf, at age eight, set a fine example for Abraham, the wolf-dog, and Illiamna, a one-year old Arctic Wolf pup.  Magpie has been in the program since she was four months old, meeting over 100,000 people from coast to coast.  Since the 1990’s, the ambassador program has reached over a million people, helping to dispel negative stereotypes about wolves.

Weber opened the event at CU’s Fiske Planetarium, with a short lecture on the dynamics of wolf-human contact.  He also spoke firmly against any notions of wolves or wolf-dogs as pets.   Though Mission: Wolf gives refuge to both – captive born animals from the film industry and from private owners – many others are euthanized because they cannot be domesticated or placed in shelters.  There aren’t enough wolf sanctuaries to rescue them all.  Breeders don’t help the situation.  It’s illegal to sell a wolf, but selling a “part wolf,” is legal, and lucrative.  This financial incentive is part of the problem, and Weber wants to educate people so they can choose not to participate.

After the discussion, a large crowd of perhaps 150-200 students, staff, and visitors, moved to an outdoor area and formed a circle to meet the ambassadors. Weber was concerned the wolves would be reluctant to enter the space, so he instructed everyone to sit down and be as quiet as possible.  The silence was immediate and heartfelt.  The wolves were led from the tour bus by Weber and his wife Tracy, entering the circle without hesitation: Magpie and Abraham in the lead, and Illiamna behind.  Their body language – tails relaxed and wagging – indicated they were comfortable in the crowd and had complete trust in their handlers.  As they moved around the circle, each stopped to lick a face now and then, charming the audience with their friendliness, presence, and beauty.  Young and playful Illiamna was already larger than his adult companions.  Arctic Wolves are built to survive in extremely harsh conditions – with longer legs, smaller ears, and heavier bodies.

Mission: Wolf  is a non-profit organization dedicated to “education vs. extinction.” Meeting wolf ambassadors is a powerful and life-changing experience, and without a doubt, this work is integral for the continued acceptance and survival of wild wolves in the U.S, and beyond.  Thank you Mission: Wolf!

Below is an excerpt from the book The Outermost House, by Henry Beston (1888-1968), quoted in the lecture by Tim Hogan, earlier in Month of the Wolf.  It bears mentioning here:

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals.  Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.  We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves.  And therein do we err.  For the animal shall not be measured by man.  In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.  They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Visit the Mission: Wolf website for more complete information about their history and programs.

EcoJournal: Month of the Wolf

Four events centered around “Month of the Wolf” at the University of Colorado, Boulder, provided valuable information about the reality of wolf research and wolf politics today.  I’ll attempt to give a brief synopsis of the first two events here.

The first lecture, by David Armstrong, Professor Emeritus at CU, was entitled “The Wolf and the Tangled Food Web.”  Dr. Armstrong began with a history of the wolf, which originated in Eurasia and spread into North America about one million years ago.  The ancestors of gray wolves coexisted with the Dire Wolf for about 100,000 years, until that species became extinct.  In a map illustrating the distribution of mammals over the last 40,000 years, Armstrong noted that today, many of those animals are confined to extremely diminished areas due to a human explosion that has occurred within the past 200 years.  Our civilization has made a profound impact in a very short time.  A satellite map revealed the distribution of humans over the continent, denoted by varying concentrations of electric lights seen from the night sky.  It was powerful evidence that large mammals like bears, bison, and wolves, are being restricted to less and less territory.

On April 13th, Tim Hogan, a botanist and Collections Manager at the Herbarium, and creator of the current wolf exhibit at CU’s Museum of Natural History, presented a lecture entitled “Join the Conversation: Yellowstone Wolves.”  Focusing on the research conducted at Yellowstone National Park since the re-introduction of wolves in 1995, he explained how the presence of wolves changed the behavior of deer and elk, by keeping them moving in the landscape.  No longer over browsed, stream beds and aspen groves began to recover.  These riparian zones (the interface between land and stream), and riparian vegetation were restored to a level that hadn’t been seen since wolves were removed from Yellowstone in the 1920’s.   Beavers began to build dams, thus creating wetland environments beneficial to many other species.  The return of wolves to Yellowstone illustrates the trophic cascade – where “top predators in a food web suppress the abundance of their prey, thereby releasing the next lower trophic level from predation.” (Wikipedia)  The lower trophic level in this case is plants.  Hogan stated, “The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone was the most important act of ecology and conservation in the past century,” and that it was “hard to overestimate the importance of this act.”

More on Month of the Wolf to come.

That Lobo Lope

That Lobo Lope, by Jack Collom, first appeared in the beautiful book, Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home, published by Johnson Books of Big Earth Publishing (link at right). They, and Jack, have generously agreed to let me post it here.  You may click on the image of poem to enlarge.

Aerial Gunning of Wolves in Alaska

The short video below shows what aerial gunning looks like.  It was produced by Defenders of Wildlife, a leader in wolf advocacy and protection.
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Letter to Colorado Senator Mark Udall

Senator Mark Udall                                                                                                                           Hart Office Building Suite   SH-317                                                                                     Washington, D.C. 20510

April 6, 2010

Dear Senator Udall,

Let me preface this letter to send my sincerest condolences for the loss of your uncle, the honorable Stewart Udall, who was a tireless advocate for preservation of wildlife and wild lands since his tenure as Secretary of the Interior under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.  I learned about Stewart Udall from a tribute on the blog Howling for Justice (link below).


I am writing this letter in response to the removal of the Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species Act, and the current policy of the Department of the Interior to ignore scientific recommendations for successful wolf management.  How can an animal be considered “endangered” one day, and a “game animal” the next?  After years of research and money spent to return the wolf to the Rockies, this scientific knowledge is not being used in management of the de-listed wolf.

As you probably know, wolves have been discovered in the state of Colorado, near High Lonesome Ranch, and there is a movement among Coloradans to protect these animals.  The University of Colorado, Boulder has deemed April the Month of the Wolf, to educate the public on this issue.  I recently attended a lecture by David Armstrong, a biologist and Professor Emeritus at UCB, and was impressed by his level-headed approach to the subject, which clearly pointed to the need for wolf management from a SCIENTIFIC, fact-based  standpoint.  He cited scientific evidence that wolves account for less than 1% of livestock deaths.

Rocky Mountain National Park is considering the re-introduction of wolves to their native habitat in order to manage exploding elk herds, which are devastating our aspen groves.  Years of research at Yellowstone shows that wolf populations change the ecosystem drastically for the better. David Armstrong concurs.

Unfortunately, our culture has an ingrained, misguided perception of wolves, handed down from generation to generation.  Will you, as a representative of Colorado, and the nephew of the great environmental leader, Stewart Udall, advocate for returning wolves to the Endangered Species List?  President Obama has been strangely silent on this issue.  Perhaps Senators like you can make a difference, if you will speak out.

Please find the schedule for Month of the Wolf, at CU, below.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do as a responsible, tax-paying citizen.

In appreciation,

Suzanne DuLany

The Poetry of Wolves

Gray Wolves

April is Poetry Month, and at The University of Colorado, Boulder, it’s also Month of the Wolf – so send us your wolf-ish poetry, in words or images!  These two wolves are beauties indeed.  All wolves desperately need our support!

Sincere gratitude goes out to all poets and artists who have contributed work so far!  These creative expressions have the power to shift negative perceptions of the wolf to ones of respect, appreciation, and coexistence.  Please check out our Poetry, Prose, and Art pages.

Knitting for Wolves

Wolfsong, hand-dyed wool, before winding into a skein

Dani, a neighbor and friend, is an amazing artist with wool.  She hand-dyes this natural fiber with colors she sees in the landscape, and colors she would like to see.  Her new colorway is called Wolfsong (image above), and is inspired by the colors of the Gray Wolf.  If you are a knitter and a supporter of wolves, check out the Sunshine Yarns website!  Dani is generously donating $5 from every skein of Wolfsong she sells, to Earthjustice, the environmental law firm leading the court battle to re-list the Gray Wolf on the Endangered Species Act.  Thanks so much to Dani and Sunshine Yarns!

Month of the Wolf at University of Colorado, Boulder

A Reply from Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado

I recently sent letters to President Obama & Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, as well as Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado.  Senator Bennet has graciously sent a reply, posted below.  Please write to your representatives in Washington.  Many voices can make a difference!

Dear Suzanne:

Thank you for contacting me regarding protection of the gray wolf. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you may know, an animal or plant may be a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act if, according to the Secretary of the Interior, a significant economic or growth-related factor is threatening its livelihood. I share your concern that conservation efforts are critical as habitat loss continues to affect many sensitive animals. The gray wolf is certainly one that deserves our consideration.

You may be interested to know that I joined a bipartisan group of Senators in writing a letter to Senator Kohl of Wisconsin and Senator Brownback of Kansas, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, commending them for properly resourcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement of key animal welfare laws. The letter also urged Senators Kohl and Brownback to continue their commitment to these efforts in Fiscal Year 2010.

The letter also recommended proper resourcing for practices and enforcement of humane methods of slaughter, monitoring the general animal welfare, investigative and enforcement services to meet the rising need of animal welfare cases, maintenance and improvement of
Animal Fighting Enforcement agencies, furthered implementation of the National Veterinary Medical Service Act, and increasing the range and scope of the Disaster Planning for the Animal Emergency Management System. The goal of such work on the federal level is protecting animal welfare nationwide.

I value the input of fellow Coloradans in considering the wide variety of important issues and legislative initiatives that come before the Senate. I hope you will continue to inform me of your thoughts and concerns.

For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator, I invite you to visit my website at
http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.


Michael Bennet
United States Senator

Eco-Poets at The Jack Kerouac School

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, at Naropa University, has on its faculty two distinguished poets who consistently speak on behalf of ecological concerns:  Jack Collom and Andrew Schelling.

Jack Collom has been teaching Eco-Lit for the past twenty years. In the upcoming edition of Bombay Gin, Naropa’s literary journal, Jack’s work, and that of selected students from Eco-Lit, will be prominently featured.  Below is a wolf-inspired poem by Jack Collom, as typed on his electric typewriter.  Click on the image of the poem to enlarge.


Andrew Schelling is a professor of poetry, literature, and translation at Naropa University, and Editor-in-Chief of Bombay Gin. The following poem is an excerpt from a larger work, called  Arapaho Songbook. A more extensive selection from this work will be featured in the upcoming issue of Bombay Gin.

Biologists on the plateau
studying wolf incursions from Idaho
keep the name taboo alive –
‘visitors from the north’
they photograph pawprints collect scat
there’s message in urine marks
a parda grammatica
If I knew your real name
could read it off the rocks would you too
be anamika, Un-Named?

Mother Wolves in Peril

She-wolf feeding her young

The latest news is that hunting season in Idaho has been extended to March 31st, allowing hunters to kill pregnant wolves.  Most hunting seasons end at an appropriate time to allow animals to gestate, give birth, and raise their young.

Please watch this short video that Defenders of Wildlife aired recently on TV:

狼 beast-kind/kind beast

The poet Zhang Er sent this beautiful poem from her book Because of Mountain, translated into English by Martine Bellen.  Included is the Chinese character for wolf: 狼.  This character is of two parts, translated as beast-kind, or kind beast. The character is spelled phonetically as “lang,” pronounced as “long.”

A poem written for one person can also
be for the world. Because

This sphere comprised of us two

or a leaf pressed in a notebook’s leaves
causes the entire forest to shed?

Thinking of him, you wander in and out
Of my secret; shut out even from daylight,
the window shades guard this dreamless
legend. To be perfectly clear, the dreaming
done in the past, has become
reality, we’re left only with
reality. OK, then, let’s walk around the
river that can’t be untangled. Let me go home
to my ancestors. They
walk uphill, walk downhill

Behind mountains are packs of wolves                                                                                                                                                                   virgin forest

Letter to the Obama Administration

March 14, 2010

To President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar:

Why are you allowing “Predator Hunting Derbies,” and why do you follow Bush Administration environmental policies?  Since the Gray Wolf was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1974, and reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, scientists and wildlife managers have worked to restore wolves to a genetically viable population.  Many scientists say we have not, as yet, reached that level. They have pointed out an undeniable fact:  Gray Wolves have drastically improved the ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park, as well as surrounding areas of the Northern Rockies.  They have cited that less than one percent of livestock deaths are caused by wolves.

What would wilderness be without wolves and other large predators?  A sickly-sweet, Bambi-esque romp through over-grazed meadows and ravaged forests.  An environment where trees succumb to disease and blight due to overpopulation of deer and elk, thus diminishing habitats for constellations of other species.  In the wild world, prey balances predator, predator balances prey – this is nature’s logic; there is no cruelty involved, it is the hub of the wheel, survival at its most basic.  For many humans, wolves represent the savage beauty of our natural world, connecting us to our own primordial DNA.

As someone who voted for the Obama Administration, I ask, in all sincerity: How can a species be considered “endangered” one day, and a “game animal” the next? What is your reasoning?  Who are you listening to?  The current issue of National Geographic magazine is just one of many publications presenting a balanced report based on scientific evidence.  There are years of research to back it up.  Will you listen to scientists?  What are your answers?

I challenge your administration to respond to the U.S. citizens and taxpayers who desire responsible protection of our wild lands and wildlife for future generations.  When pondering a decision in the present, many Native American traditions look seven generations forward to envision its effect.  I ask you:  Are you making responsible decisions for that seventh generation?

Please take immediate action to protect Gray Wolf populations from further decimation, and create a sound, scientific plan for their future survival.

Respectfully and ardently,

Suzanne DuLany

Boulder, Colorado

Watch Ashley Judd’s appeal to the Obama Administration:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uxJPjhSnHg

Send your own letter to President Obama through his link at right.

To send a message to Ken Salazar, go to the link at right, click on “feedback.”

Also, you can go to the National Resources Defense Council site at right to “Find your elected officials” by typing in your zip code.

Artists Respond

Wolf II, David Amdur, found wood, 2010

Relic 3, David Amdur, salvaged wood. 2010

Recently, on a visit to Austin, Texas, I was privileged to read poetry at Willow Arts Studio, and to see, in person, some beautiful artwork inspired by wolves.  I will be posting the work here as I receive the images.  For me, these pieces by David Amdur epitomize the spirit of the wolf: they are from the landscape, moss-stained, and require minimal intervention.

In the beautiful ink drawing below, Jacqueline May’s spontaneous brush articulates the wolf, electrified with lines of energy.

To howl, or not to howl…

Wolves Howling, Jacqueline May. Ink on paper. 2010

The wolf is a social animal with a propensity for gathering, hunting, cavorting, parenting, howling… much like humans.  Look in the mirror and see what a wolf sees: a carnivore, a competitor, a social animal capable of great love and loyalty; an intelligent animal proficient in the skills needed for survival.  Wolf survival, like that of humans, depends upon cooperation within the clan, the tribe, the pack.  Our survival as a global ecosystem, requires cooperation between all species.

To howl or not to howl, that is the question.  Fowl news, to hear “the hunt is on” for wolves.