National Geographic : 1998 May
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Coguide Tranquilized wolves from Canada are muzzled during transfer from pen to pen in Yellowstone National Park. Muzzles help protect eyes and calm nerves. No coaxing is needed to lure a wolf into a large holding pen prior to its release into the park (right). In Salt Lake City a tamed wolf travels with a Colorado-based program that dis courages the breeding of wolf hybrids as pets. The Gray Wolf Returns *Themaponpage81showsa drastic reduction in the distri bution of gray wolves in North America from the past to the present. What relationship can you see between the current range of wolves and today's range of human settlement? * The grizzly bear and the cou gar, also called mountain lion or panther, once lived in much of North America, just as the wolf did. Like the wolf, JOELSARTORE(BELOW);RICKRICKMAN these animals were nearly exter minated in most areas of the lower 48 states. Yet other large wild animals, such as white tailed deer and mule deer, thrive today in their original range, and in many places are even more numerous now than they were a hundred years ago. Can you suggest why we have protected some wild animal species but allowed-or encouraged-the elimination of others? * In "Little Red Riding Hood" and many other stories the wolf is portrayed as a crafty creature dangerous to people. The record shows, however, that healthy wolves do not hurt people, except in self-defense. In fact, they are so wary and secretive that they're often difficult to spot in the wild. Why did the wolf earn such a bad reputation in the past? Why does the wolf still have a bad reputation with many ranchers who raise cattle or sheep for a living-and with some sport hunters? Why, then, is the wolf's popularity now rap idly increasing among many other people? * On page 91 author Douglas Chadwick describes how wildlife agents used immobilizing drugs to capture a female wolf called B 11, then put her in a helicopter and flew 160 miles before releas ing her. Yet in only 11 days she traveled all the way back to her mate. On average, how many miles did the wolf have to travel each day? To get an idea of how much country B 11 crossed in that short time, examine your own region using a road map or atlas. What towns or landmarks lie 160 miles away from your hometown? How long might it take you to walk that far? USE GEOGUIDE ALONG WITH THE ARTICLE ON GRAY WOLVES IN THIS ISSUE TO CAPTURE THE INTEREST OF YOUNG READERS AND STIMULATE DISCUSSION. YOU CAN VISIT GEOGUIDE ONLINE AT WWW.NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM/RESOURCES/EDUCATION/GEOGUIDE.