Threatened: When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted May 16, 2016 12:36
Although wolves are some of the most powerful predators in the wild, their numbers are dwindling due to various ecological threats. When these majestic hunters become the hunted, it's time to step in.
It goes without saying that wolves have always been fascinating. Since antiquity, some wolf subspecies have shared their lives with humans, and have lived alongside human hunter-gatherers, primitive farmers, and warriors. Cave paintings have shown early man relying on their wolf-herd for protection. In fact, many beloved dog breeds today are descended from wolf subspecies that are able to project trust and loyalty. In some cultures, wolves hold significant, symbolic status, and are protected, by law, from poaching.
Unfortunately, despite their popularity, many wolf subspecies today are disappearing.
A number of Caninae (the species wolves belong to) subspecies today are slowly decreasing in number and are slowly approaching the endangered status. These threatened wolf subspecies include Mexican gray wolves, the rarest gray wolves in North America, the Ethiopian wolves, of which there are only less than 500 left in the wild, and North American Gray Wolves, which are native to North America.
A Mexican Gray Wolf. Source: EarthJustice.org
Loss of habitat, illegal poaching (wolf pelt is used for fur products), and other environmental factors are three of the main reasons why these majestic wolves are slowly disappearing from our forests. Despite efforts to protect wolves from poachers and from irreversible loss of their homes, wolves are approaching the "endangered" status at a rapid rate.
Rescue and Conservation Efforts for Wolves Continue
All hope is not lost for one of nature's most interesting apex predators. In recent years, rescue and conservation efforts have been picking up. In North America, the population of North American Gray Wolves in zoos and conservation areas are increasing at a moderate rate; late last year, the US Government declared that North American gray wolves will be removed from the endangered list in a year's time. Little information is available for Ethiopian Wolves and Mexican Gray Wolves, but scientists and researchers from all over the world are looking into providing long-term conservation programs for wolves that live in areas which are rarely monitored.
While researchers and conservationists do their thing, here's how wolf-lovers like yourself can show support:
- Don't purchase or patronize products that make use of wolf byproducts. These products include coats and scarves with wolf pelt. If you prefer to wear your support, try these animal-safe, wolf-themed yoga wear, instead. In Asian countries, ground up wolf fangs and bones are being sold as health supplements. Discourage the use or purchase of these products.
- Sign the petition! Whenever you chance upon petitions that aim to protect all animals, not just wolves, take part. Sign the petition, and encourage your friends to do the same.
- You don't have to be a wolf to be part of the wolfpack; and clearly, you don't have to live among wolves to help them either. Show your support by letting the world know about the plight of these three rare wolf subspecies. Use social media, as well as any avenue you can use to spread the word about the dangers all wolves face.