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Wolves

WOLVES

WOLVES. Wolves once roamed most of the Northern Hemisphere, including much of the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Like humans, wolves crossed the Bering land bridge during the Ice Age to range throughout North America, from the Arctic to central Mexico. Both wolf species, the gray (Canis lupus) and the red (Canis rufus), were found in the United States, though the latter lived only in the Southeast. Most literature, popular knowledge, and economic concerns about the wolf involve the gray wolf, also known as the timber wolf. The appearance of the gray wolf varies from pure white in the Arctic to black, gray, and tan in the lower forests and grasslands. A pack animal with well-ordered social systems, the wolf's success depended on its ability to den, hunt, and defend its territory in groups of two to twenty. Adaptability to different climates and habitats, perhaps only excelled by humans, meant the size and number of prey determined the wolf's travels. Until the huge bison herds of the Great Plains were destroyed in the midnineteenth century, wolves were most abundant in North America's central prairies.

Most Native Americans revered the wolf, emulating its hunting tactics and incorporating the animal into their creation stories. The wolf was central to the Anishinabe (Ojibwa) culture of northern Michigan and was an important clan or totem animal for others. Europeans arrived from densely populated, agrarian countries with much darker attitudes. Though no human deaths from wolves have been reported in the United States, the wolf did compete for the same wild prey as settlers and killed domestic livestock when it could. Intense efforts quickly developed to eradicate the wolf in farming and ranching regions. In the 1840s prairie settlers poisoned wolves with strychnine, chased them with dogs, and shot them in circle hunts. Throughout the late nineteenth century local bounty programs paid for wolf scalps and pelts. Congress authorized funds in 1915 to trap and kill wolves on all public lands. By 1950 the wolf was nearly extinct in the United States. Only scattered packs remained in northern Minnesota and Michigan and remote regions of the Rocky Mountains.

Growing environmental concerns in the 1960s prompted the federal government to declare the wolf an endangered species in 1973. Governmental protections resulted in slow growth of wolf numbers, and in 1986 the first western-state wolf den in fifty years was found in Montana's Glacier National Park. Successful efforts to reintroduce the wolf to its former habitat in the 1990s, however, met resistance. To compensate, these programs allowed for payment for livestock killed and removal of the individual wolves responsible. American attitudes toward the wolf continued to be conflicted and passionate to the end of the twentieth century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dinsmore, James J. A Country So Full of Game. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1994. Focuses on Iowa and the Midwest and makes extensive use of settlers' letters, diaries, and other historic sources.

Mallard, Ann, ed. Creatures of the Wild: Wolf. London: PRC, 1998. Contains excellent color photographs by Alan Carey and Sandy Carey.

Webb, Walter Prescott. The Great Plains. Boston: Ginn, 1931.

Jan OliveNash

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Wolves

423. Wolves

See also 16. ANIMALS .

lycanthrope
1. a person suffering from lycanthropy.
2. a werewolf or alien spirit in the form of a bloodthirsty wolf.
3. a person reputed to be able to change himself or another person into a wolf.
lycanthropy
1. Psychiatry. Also called lycomania . a kind of insanity in which the patient believes himself to be a beast, especially a wolf.
2. the supposed or fabled assumption of the form of a wolf by a human being. lycanthropic , adj.
lycomania
lycanthropy.

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wolves

wolves / woŏlvz/ • plural form of wolf.

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wolves

wolves •haves •calves, scarves •headscarves • mooncalves • Graves •beeves, eaves, Greaves, Jeeves, leaves, Reeves, thieves •tea leaves • fig leaves • flyleaves •Hargreaves • lives •Ives, knives, wives •jackknives • penknives • paperknives •spaewives • alewives • midwives •fishwives • housewives • goodwives •corves, dwarves, wharves •Groves, loaves •hooves • turves •elves, ourselves, selves, shelves, theirselves, themselves, yourselves •mantelshelves • bookshelves •wolves • aardwolves • werewolves

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Wolves

WOLVES

WOLVES . Wolf symbolism embraces the dual aspects of good and evil human nature. Although the dark, menacing image of the fearless predator and ravening killer preponderates, wolves also personify a protective spirit and the nurturing mother. In classical times the wolf, perceived in both aspects, symbolized transition. The "hour of the wolf," for example, is the time of emergence from darkness into light or, contrarily, of reversion to the world of darkness and ignorance. The biblical verse "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb" (Is. 11:16) is a metaphor for the assimilation of the lower to the higher and participates in the symbolism of the center. The Roman signa represents the wolf mounted on a cube (earth) and on a sphere (heaven). As an alchemical symbol, the wolf, together with the dog, stands for the dyadic nature of Mercurius, the philosophical mercury, the nous ("intelligence").

Many of the ancient war gods bore the name Wolf. Apollo, more widely known as a sun god, was associated with the wolf, and the epithets "wolf-born" and "wolfish Apollo" occur in Greek and Roman literature. In the Aeneid, the god assumed the form of a wolf in order to destroy the sorcerers of Rhodes, and a bronze statue of a wolf still stands at his shrine at Delphi. The Romans associated the wolf with the god Mars, and their legions marched into battle under the protection of the sacred wolf displayed on their banners. The Lupercalia, a festival of ancient Rome, has been interpreted as a wolf festival with wolf priests. Wolf deities were worshiped in Iran and Scythia, and in Japan the wolf was long regarded as a great god. The Teutonic war god Woðan (whose name derives from wut, "fury") and his Scandinavian counterpart, Óðinn (Odin), were accompanied by wolves when waging war. The Finns called wolves "dogs of the death spirit." American Indian tribes whose gods bore wolf names preceded their war sorties with wolf dances to ensure victory.

The most sinister wolf image is that of Fenrir, or Fenrisúlfr (Fenriswolf), in Norse mythology. The son of the trickster Loki, this monster embodied the destructive potential of chaos in the universe. Immured by the gods in the bowels of the earth, he broke out of his prison and devoured the sun and so brought about the twilight of the gods. In the thirteenth-century Icelandic Eddas, the cyclic cosmic battle between the gods and antigods is called "the war with the wolf."

Exaltation of wolves rather than fear of them prevailed in archaic times, for, as hunters, humans identified themselves with the wolf, the exemplary predator. Animals were considered divine in those early societies and were the nucleus around which religious belief crystallized. The discovery of Neolithic figurines of men wearing wolf masks and wolf skins suggests ceremonies of a religious and initiatory character. When wolf totems were created and the name of the animal taken by the tribe, it was often in the belief that the tribe was descended from a wolf ancestor, an idea that reflects a religious concept of great antiquity. The Chinggisids attributed their origin to a wolf who had come down from heaven to mate with a doe. Analogous myths existed among various tribal peoples of Inner Asia. The wolf also figured in the mythology of the American Indian hunting societies, such as the Cheyenne, and for some tribes of the Plains and the Eastern Woodlands, it was a clan or gens animal. Awed by the skill of the wolf as predator, these tribes incorporated its image into their rituals and ceremonial dances with the aim of acquiring the animal's stamina and courage. Conversely, the wolf was anathema for agricultural societies, although, according to Herodotus, the priests of Ceres had wolf guides.

In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the wolf, symbolizing the warrior-hero, was a guardian figure on monuments. An emblem of valor, it was a dominant image in the Volsungasaga and in the Teutonic military societies, the Berserkers and Männerbünde. Fostering the cult of the fanatical warrior, these martial brotherhoods held initiation ceremonies for the purpose of transforming the neophyte into a wolf. By donning the skin of the invulnerable animal, the initiate was thought to acquire its ferocity and power. Such traditions of initiatory transformation are documented in cultures as remote as those of Iceland and Africa.

The widespread and enduring association of wolves with ferocity and greed, darkness and death, prevailed among the Hindus and Celts. For the Chinese, the animal signified avarice and voracity, for the Zoroastrians and Armenians, evil more malign than that of the serpent charms used to destroy it. The Abyssinians regarded wolves as demons in animal form. In Judaism, wolves connoted bloodthirstiness and the spirit of persecution, and the biblical epithet "stiff-necked" derived from the belief that the animal was unable to turn its head. In both testaments of the Bible, wolves are characterized as "ravening." The image of the wolf as Satan or his henchman, a devourer of human souls, pervaded Christianity. The wolf represented the heretic, despoiler of the sheepfold of the faithful, of which Christ was the shepherd-protector. In "The Parson's Tale" Chaucer speaks of "the devil's wolves that strangle the sheep of Jesus Christ." Dante, in the first canto of his Inferno, names the she-wolf "laden with all craving" as one of the three dangerous beasts in the dark wood of fear; and in the eighth circle of Hell, thieves, liars, and hypocrites are condemned for "the sins of the wolf."

In many societies, the wolf was the symbol of outlaws, fugitives, and exiles, all of whom were believed to be under the protection of wolf gods. In the laws of the Hittites as well as those of Edward the Confessor, such men were required to wear a wolf-headed mask. Around 350 ce, the first bishop of the Goths applied the term wolf to any man who had committed a capital crime.

Early associated with sorcery and superstition, wolves were said to be the mounts of warlocks and witches. In Norse mythology, they consorted with the Norns, and Circe's palace was surrounded by tame wolves that she had subdued by enchantment. "Tooth of wolf" is an ingredient of the witches' brew in Shakespeare's Macbeth, and various parts of the animal's body were included in the armaments of magic of American Indian medicine men.

Perhaps the most colorful of the beliefs relating to wolves is that of lycanthropy, the ancient belief in the transformation of human into werewolf. This fearsome, night-roaming beast, avid for human blood, has been an almost universal specter. Legends of werewolves are known in almost every part of the world, and where no wolves have existed, the belief in were-animals has been associated with the fiercest native animal: the tiger in India, the jaguar in South America, the hyena in Africa, and the fox in Japan and China, where stories of the werefox have been preserved in the lore of popular Taoism. Werewolves played a role in the shamanism of Asia, and Inuit (Eskimo) and Chukchi shamans transformed themselves into wolves when in trance. Herodotus wrote of the Neuri turning into wolves annually, which suggests periodic religious ceremonies in which wolf masks and wolf skins were worn. Socrates refers to werewolves in Plato's Republic; Pliny gives an account of were-wolfry in his Natural History; and Vergil wrote that the creatures were produced by means of magic herbs. Such beliefs may have had their origin in the mythico-religious complex of wolf gods or in rituals of the return of the dead. But it was in medieval Christian Europe that the werewolf most obsessed the human mind, and the Catholic Inquisition exploited the panic it aroused to further the suppression of heresy.

Wolves have been represented in Christian art as susceptible to spiritual persuasion and reform. The wolf of Gubbio, which had terrorized that Italian village, was converted by Francis of Assisi and is often depicted as his companion. Odo of Cluny, the tenth-century French saint, is said to have been rescued by a wolf when assailed by foxes, and the manuscript of the life of Edmund the Martyr (ninth century) contains an illustration of a wolf guarding the saint's severed head.

Wolves as nurturing figures occur in myth and legend, often mothering human infants who become founders of dynasties or nations. The best known of these, the Capitoline wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, is by no means the only surviving monument to this widespread legend. Coins antedating the founding of Rome bear the images of wolves with twin children. Apollo's children by human mothers were also said to have been suckled by wolves.

Siberian and American Indian shamans regarded wolves as guardians or helpful spirits and a source of great power. The doctoring societies of the Quileute and Makah Indians of the Northwest Coast performed wolf dances to heal the sick, and the image of a wolf head was believed to be a safeguard against evil. For many Indian tribes the wolf represented the corn god. The Keresan Pueblo tribe of the Southwest ordered the world according to the four cardinal points plus the zenith and nadir, and each of the six points was said to be dominated by a god, with the wolf in the west.

Wolves are often represented in fairy tales and fables as helpful animals; they manifest a sagacity and acumen superior to human knowledge.

Bibliography

Eisler, Robert. Man into Wolf (1951). Reprint, New York, 1969. An exhaustive account of the belief in lycanthropy in various parts of the world and of ethnic names derived from the various names for the wolf.

Eliade, Mircea. Zalmoxis, the Vanishing God: Comparative Studies in the Religions and Folklore of Dacia and Eastern Europe. Chicago, 1972. An analysis of wolf rituals in archaic mythico-religious traditions predating Near Eastern and Mediterranean civilizations: their relation to the rites of martial initiations and to beliefs in the periodic return of the dead.

Gubernatis, Angelo de. Zoological Mythology or Legends of Animals, vol. 2, The Animals of the Earth (cont.), The Animals of the Air, The Animals of the Water. London, 1872. Treats the benevolent aspect of wolves as guides or guardians of saints and priests and the relation of wolves to curative beliefs.

Ovid. The Fasti, vol. 2. Edited by Sir James Frazer. London, 1929. An extensive review of legends of the nurturing wolf, predating and including the Capitoline wolf as well as histories of "wolf children" from ancient to modern times.

Summers, Montague. The Werewolf (1933). Reprint, New Hyde Park, N. Y., 1966. An excellent exposition of the prevalent view of the wolf in the Middle Ages as a projection of human fears and anxiety. A survey of shamanic wolf rituals.

New Sources

Busch, Robert. "The Wolf in Human Culture." In The Wolf Almanac, pp. 85112. Guilford, Conn., 1998.

Daniels, Edwin. Wolf Walking. New York, 1997.

Hall, Jamie. Half Human, Half Animal: Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures. Bloomington, Ind., 2003.

Savage, Candace. Wolves. 1988; reprint, San Francisco, 1996.

Steiger, Brad. The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings. 1999; reprint, Detroit, 2003.

Ann Dunnigan (1987)

Revised Bibliography

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Wolves

Wolves


Persecuted by humans for centuries, these members of the dog family Canidae are among nature's most maligned and least understood creatures. Yet they are intelligent, highly evolved, sociable animals that play a valuable role in maintaining the balance of nature .

Fairy tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Three Little Pigs" notwithstanding, healthy, unprovoked wolves do not attack humans. Rather, they avoid them whenever possible. Wolves do prey on rabbits, rodents, and especially on hoofed animals like deer, elk, moose, and caribou. By seeking out the slowest and weakest animals, those that are easiest to catch and kill, wolves tend to cull out the sick and the lame, very old and young, and the unwary, less intelligent, biologically inferior members of the herd. In this way, wolves help ensure the "survival of the fittest" and prevent overpopulation, starvation, and the spread of diseases in the prey species .

Wolves have a disciplined, well-organized social structure. They live in packs, share duties, and cooperate in hunting large prey and rearing pups. Members of the pack, often an extended family composed of several generations of wolves, appear to show great interest in and affection for the pups and for each other, and have been known to bring food to a sick or injured companion. It is thought that the orderly and complex social structure of wolf society, especially the submission of members of the pack to the leaders, made it possible for early humans to socialize and domesticate a small variety of wolf that evolved into today's dogs. The famous howls in which wolves seem to delight appear to be more than a way of establishing territory or locating each other. Howling seems to be part of their social culture, often done seemingly for the sheer pleasure of it.

Nevertheless, few animals have withstood such universal, intense, and longterm persecution as have wolves, and with little justification. Bounties on wolves have existed for well over 2,000 years and were recorded by the early Greeks and Romans. One of the first actions taken by the colonists settling in New England was to institute a similar system, which was later adopted throughout the United States. Sport and commercial hunting and trapping , along with federal poisoning and trapping programsreferred to as "predator control"succeeded in eliminating the wolf from all of its original range in the contiguous 48 states excepting Minnesota, until its later reintroduction.

The U.S. Department of the Interior , at the urging of conservationists, has undertaken efforts to reestablish wolf populations in suitable areas, like Yellowstone National Park . In 1995, the 14 wolves were released to roam the park. The group adapted extremely well and multiplied quickly. In 1997, nearby ranchers, concern that the wolves could become a threat to their livestock, filed a lawsuit to block further wolf releases. However, in 2000, a federal court upheld the releases. By 2002, there were more than 150 wolves in the park.

American timber wolves continued to be hunted and trapped, legally and illegally, in their remaining refuges. Alaska has periodically allowed and even promoted the aerial hunting and shooting of wolves and has proposed plans to shoot wolves from airplanes in order to increase the numbers of moose and caribou for sport hunters. One such proposal announced in late 1992 was postponed and then cancelled after conservation and animal rights groups threatened to launch a tourist boycott of the state.

In Minnesota, wolves are generally protected under the federal Endangered Species Act , but poaching persists because many consider wolves to be livestock killers. In 1978, the wolves were reclassified from endangered to threatened, which afforded them less protection. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) adopted a recovery plan in 1978 with the goal of increasing the Minnesota wolf population to 1,400 by 2000. By 1999, the population was estimated at 2,445 by the FWS although several wildlife groups believed the number was much less. Wolves were also successfully reintroduced into Wisconsin and Michigan, where the population was estimated by the FWS at more than 100 in 1994. As of 2002, the FWS was considering delisting the Minnesota wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In Canada, they are frequently hunted, trapped, poisoned, and intentionally exterminated, sometimes to increase the numbers of moose, caribou, and other game animals, especially in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. The maned wolf, (Chryocyon brachyurus ) is considered endangered throughout its entire range of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay. In Norway, there were only 28 wolves in the wild as of 2002, according to the World Wildlife fund . The number in Sweden was less than 100.

The most common type of wolf is the gray wolf (Canis lupus ) that includes the timber wolf and the Arctic-dwelling tundra wolf. The FWS lists the gray wolf as an endangered species throughout its former range in Mexico and the continental United States, except in Minnesota, where it is "threatened." As many as 1,300 wolves may remain in the wilds of Minnesota, 6,00010,000 in Alaska, and thousands more in Canada. A population ranging from one or two dozen also lives on Isle Royale, Michigan.

The red wolf (Canis rufus ), a smaller type of wolf found in the southeastern United States, was nearly extinct in the wild when in 1970 the FWS began a recovery program. With less than 100 red wolves in the wilds of Texas and Louisiana, 14 were captured and became part of a captive
breeding program. By 2002, about 100 red wolves had been reintroduced into the wilds in North Carolina, but are still listed as Critical by the IUCNThe World Conservation Union . A federal appeals court helped the effort when in 1970 it upheld FWS rules banning the killing of red wolves that wander onto privatelyowned land.

In 1998, the FWS reintroduced the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi ), a sub-species of the gray wolf, into the Apache National Forest in Arizona after it had been gone from the wild for 17 years. Two wolf families were released but the reintroduction suffered setbacks when five of the wolves were shot and killed by ranchers. The remaining wolves were recaptured in 2002 and relocated to the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness Area of New Mexico. The FWS hopes to have reestablished 100 Mexican wolves in the area by 2005. Less than 200 of the wolves survive in captivity. The Mexican wolf was declared an endangered species in 1976.

[Ken R. Wells ]


RESOURCES

BOOKS

Greenberg, Daniel A. Wolves. New York: Benchmark Books, 2002.

Martin, Patricia A. Fink. Gray Wolves. New York: Children's Press, 2002.

Mech, L. David. The Wolves of Minnesota: Howl in the Heartland. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2000.

PERIODICALS

Clugston, Michael. "Intruding on Wild Lives." Canadian Geographic (NovemberDecember 2001): 38.

"Defenders Applauds Decision to Translocate Mexican Wolves." US Newswire (March 22, 2000).

Holloway, Marguerite. "Wolves at the Door: Can We Learn to Dance With Wild Things Again?" Discover (June 2000): 58.

Jones, Karen. "Fighting Outlaws, Returning Wolves." History Today (March 2002): 3841.

Knight, Deborah. "Uneasy Neighbors: Humans Evicted Wolves from Yellowstone and Coyotes Moved In. Now the Wolves are Back." Animals (Spring 2002): 611.

ORGANIZATIONS

International Wolf Center, 1396 Highway 169, Ely, MN USA 55731 (218) 365-4695, Email: [email protected], <http://www.wolf.org>

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"Wolves." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wolves-0

"Wolves." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wolves-0

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Citation styles

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Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
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