Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Red Riding Hood Lied

'The Alaskan gray wolves here eat beef, chicken, goat, horses [when donated], deer, and some fish, on occasion, that is donated by the Navy," says Melinda Booth, development manager of the California Wolf Center. "Deer would be a more natural food for them, but the other meat is very nutritious. The Mexican gray wolves are only fed non-livestock food, like deer and bison." Because most Mexican wolves are released back to a natural habitat as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mexican wolf-recovery program, participating organizations like the California Wolf Center work to keep the animals from developing a taste for cows and chickens.

For national Wolf Awareness Week (October 15 to October 21), the center is focusing its attention on the endangered Mexican gray, of which only 300 exist, most in captivity. "Mexican wolves are the most distinct, genetically. They are around 20 pounds less than the average grays, and most have similar coloration -- a brownish, rust-ish color with a white splash across the face," says the center's executive director, Patrick Valentino.

"Prior to the Endangered Species Act, there were government programs to kill wolves. We had this archaic, nonscientific foundation of a country that was anti-predator, generally, and anti-wolf specifically. The Little Red Riding Hood myth created a hatred for the wolves."

Valentino learned in historical accounts that the wolves were often killed inhumanely. Among such methods of killing employed by government agents were poison; digging pits into which wolves might fall and eventually die; and capturing wolves, wiring their jaws shut, and then releasing them back to the wild.

A 1996 Environmental Impact Statement determined that the Apache and Gila national forests (located in Arizona and New Mexico) would be ideal habitats for Mexican wolves. When the first wolves were released as part of the recovery program in 1998, however, challenges arose.

"When you're releasing captive-born animals, you're going to lose a lot and have to bring some back in," says Valentino. "Some just die. What usually happens is they might start feeding on or harassing livestock or start hanging around areas where people are. When they're brought back and permanently retired to captivity, it usually has to do with their inability to stay away from livestock and people."

According to Valentino (and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), wolves play a crucial role in the health of the ecosystems to which they belong. "Wolves are not random, but [rather] selective, hunters," Valentino explains. "When they're hunting, they're looking for weak, sick, diseased, or young. It's almost impossible to take down a healthy animal." Primary prey include elk, moose, deer, caribou, and bison. "Healthy [prey] are nearly 100 percent successful defending themselves, so Bambi has the upper hand. When [wolves] are successful, they cull out the weaker animals; when they're not successful, they help keep animals alert and moving, which allows plant life to return."

By scaring their prey into movement, wolves help to keep the land from being overgrazed. "Like when you farm, you don't just use up this one area, you keep moving it around. The plant life benefits by the mere presence of wolves." Scavengers like coyotes and bears also benefit. Because the animals killed by wolves are typically large, there tend to be plenty of leftovers. "Wolves are considered the engineers of biodiversity, or keystone predators," says Valentino.

In an average pack of seven wolves, only two or three will participate in a kill, "but several others may be involved in getting [the prey] separate from the herd -- they decide [which] one is weakest, then focus in, pick up speed, and chase the animal. The kill happens very fast; they want to kill quickly, because if they don't, they can get hurt -- elk can kill wolves."

Valentino compares packs of wolves to human families, with a "mom and dad," or the alpha male and alpha female. "A lot of people say [wolves] mate for life, but they mate for life unless they don't. It's the same with people -- sometimes they split up, sometimes one dies, sometimes one cheats. But [the wolves] are still going to focus on a family unit, because it makes the most sense." -- Barbarella

An Interactive Presentation: Celebrating the Mexican Wolf

Saturday, October 21

California Wolf Center

Highway 79 (Japatul Road exit, on the K.Q. Ranch Campground)

Julian

619-234-9653 or www.californiawolfcenter.org

Reservations required

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Emperor Shirakawa offers a prayer to Hachiman

The proponent of Esoteric Buddhism allows for the inclusion of other faiths

'The Alaskan gray wolves here eat beef, chicken, goat, horses [when donated], deer, and some fish, on occasion, that is donated by the Navy," says Melinda Booth, development manager of the California Wolf Center. "Deer would be a more natural food for them, but the other meat is very nutritious. The Mexican gray wolves are only fed non-livestock food, like deer and bison." Because most Mexican wolves are released back to a natural habitat as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mexican wolf-recovery program, participating organizations like the California Wolf Center work to keep the animals from developing a taste for cows and chickens.

For national Wolf Awareness Week (October 15 to October 21), the center is focusing its attention on the endangered Mexican gray, of which only 300 exist, most in captivity. "Mexican wolves are the most distinct, genetically. They are around 20 pounds less than the average grays, and most have similar coloration -- a brownish, rust-ish color with a white splash across the face," says the center's executive director, Patrick Valentino.

"Prior to the Endangered Species Act, there were government programs to kill wolves. We had this archaic, nonscientific foundation of a country that was anti-predator, generally, and anti-wolf specifically. The Little Red Riding Hood myth created a hatred for the wolves."

Valentino learned in historical accounts that the wolves were often killed inhumanely. Among such methods of killing employed by government agents were poison; digging pits into which wolves might fall and eventually die; and capturing wolves, wiring their jaws shut, and then releasing them back to the wild.

A 1996 Environmental Impact Statement determined that the Apache and Gila national forests (located in Arizona and New Mexico) would be ideal habitats for Mexican wolves. When the first wolves were released as part of the recovery program in 1998, however, challenges arose.

"When you're releasing captive-born animals, you're going to lose a lot and have to bring some back in," says Valentino. "Some just die. What usually happens is they might start feeding on or harassing livestock or start hanging around areas where people are. When they're brought back and permanently retired to captivity, it usually has to do with their inability to stay away from livestock and people."

According to Valentino (and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), wolves play a crucial role in the health of the ecosystems to which they belong. "Wolves are not random, but [rather] selective, hunters," Valentino explains. "When they're hunting, they're looking for weak, sick, diseased, or young. It's almost impossible to take down a healthy animal." Primary prey include elk, moose, deer, caribou, and bison. "Healthy [prey] are nearly 100 percent successful defending themselves, so Bambi has the upper hand. When [wolves] are successful, they cull out the weaker animals; when they're not successful, they help keep animals alert and moving, which allows plant life to return."

By scaring their prey into movement, wolves help to keep the land from being overgrazed. "Like when you farm, you don't just use up this one area, you keep moving it around. The plant life benefits by the mere presence of wolves." Scavengers like coyotes and bears also benefit. Because the animals killed by wolves are typically large, there tend to be plenty of leftovers. "Wolves are considered the engineers of biodiversity, or keystone predators," says Valentino.

In an average pack of seven wolves, only two or three will participate in a kill, "but several others may be involved in getting [the prey] separate from the herd -- they decide [which] one is weakest, then focus in, pick up speed, and chase the animal. The kill happens very fast; they want to kill quickly, because if they don't, they can get hurt -- elk can kill wolves."

Valentino compares packs of wolves to human families, with a "mom and dad," or the alpha male and alpha female. "A lot of people say [wolves] mate for life, but they mate for life unless they don't. It's the same with people -- sometimes they split up, sometimes one dies, sometimes one cheats. But [the wolves] are still going to focus on a family unit, because it makes the most sense." -- Barbarella

An Interactive Presentation: Celebrating the Mexican Wolf

Saturday, October 21

California Wolf Center

Highway 79 (Japatul Road exit, on the K.Q. Ranch Campground)

Julian

619-234-9653 or www.californiawolfcenter.org

Reservations required

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

State density rules squeezing Del Mar into a corner

Watermark units on Jimmy Durante Rd. will include 10 'low affordable' ones
Next Article

Must-see Melbourne by neighborhood

As San Diegans look ahead to international travel post-COVID, here's why Australia's second city merits consideration.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close