News Brief by Kip Hansen — 28 December 2022
Nature, that biological force that has been operating for a very long time creating and destroying flora and fauna for millennia, just keeps getting in the way of our puny human efforts to straighten her out and set her to rights.
In Lower Franconia, Bavaria, Germany, the wildlife authorities have decided that the pups whelped by a she-wolf after she mated with a domestic dog must be killed – hunted down and shot.
Why in the world would they need to be hunted and killed?
Welcome to the wild-wild-world of species protection.
As we have seen in North America, wolves have become the darling of endangered species regulations and restoration efforts. A cute YouTube illustrates the tone of the movement.
The endangered or threaten species concept runs afoul of the Species Problem. Of course, there are two distinct Species Problems:
1) Darwin’s Problem: “I was much struck how entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties” — Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
2) The Modern Species Problem: “The species problem is the set of questions that arises when biologists attempt to define what a species is. Such a definition is called a species concept; there are at least 26 recognized species concepts.” [ source ]
In the United States, we can see this problem clearly in the protection of the Red Wolf. It is well-known and widely acknowledged that the so-called Red Wolf of the Carolinas is a gray wolf-coyote hybrid – though it is possible/probable that it could Eastern Wolf-Coyote hybrid. However, the Eastern Wolf itself has also been found to be a Gray Wolf-Coyote hybrid. Nevertheless, the US Federal Fish & Wildlife Service runs a captive breeding program, which currently it has “approximately 241 red wolves [being] maintained in 45 captive breeding facilities throughout the United States” in an effort to support a population of “about 15 to 17 red wolves [that] roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina”. As we Americans say “Your tax dollars at work.”
Why all this confusion? The Species Problem! Wolf species status was assigned by geography and appearance. When a genetic study was done recently [ .pdf file here ], it was found that there is only one species of wolf in North America – the Gray Wolf. (There are, however two accepted spellings: Gray Wolf and Grey Wolf – Gray Wolf is considered the American spelling.)
The illogical result is that a hybrid animal – the Red Wolf — is being protected as “species” at great cost and effort.
It is long been proven that wolves and domestic dogs can and do interbreed. And have been doing so whenever wolves and domestic dogs share the same territory. It is unknown how many wolves in the wild are actually wolf-dog hybrids.
“Hybridization between wolves and dogs typically occurs when the wolf population is under strong hunting pressure and its structure is disrupted due to a high number of free-ranging dogs. Wolves typically display aggressiveness toward dogs, but a wolf can change its behavior and become playful or submissive when it becomes socially isolated.” [ Wiki ] (This paragraph describes the environment found in Alaska and America’s ranching states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, and more.)
What is going on in Germany? Like many other countries in Europe, Germany has been re-introducing wolves to the “wild”. Of course, the European Union has regulations about wolves, protecting them even when they enter towns and villages.
Now, based on the regulations of the EU, mandating protection of wolves as a species:
“The puppies of a wolf that has mated with a domestic dog must be tracked down and shot, Bavarian authorities said. …. Officials documented the wolf-dog hybrids in the Lower Franconia region on the north-western edge of Bavaria. German law mandates that these hybrid animals be shot to protect the local wolf population.”
“Bavarian authorities have found genetic traces of a she-wolf and her offspring in the Rhön-Grabfeld district in Lower Franconia after examining the carcasses of three dead sheep”. [see further down for livestock predation numbers]
“The genetic findings indicate that the puppies are wolf dogs that emerged from the mating of the mother with a domestic dog in the spring of this year, the Bavarian State Office for the Environment (LfU) announced on Thursday.”
“The Federal Nature Conservation Act stipulates that the hybrids must be shot. The mixing of dogs and wolves leads to genetic changes that could lead to a deterioration in the gene pool in wild animals, said a spokesman for the LfU.”
“The wolf is perfectly adapted to life in the wild, while domestic dogs are not. Officials said the long-term survival of wolves in the wild can only be ensured if the animal doesn’t lose its adaptations to its natural environment, which crossbreeding could endanger.”
“The LfU said it would take no steps to remove the hybrid pups. Removal may involve catching or shooting the animals. But for hybrids older than three months, the authorities, as is the case in the current situation, opt for “lethal removal”, that is, shooting down.”
“Wild-born animals like the hybrid pups could not adapt to permanent confinement in an enclosure and would suffer in captivity, authorities said.” [ source ]
The illogic of the justifications may come from translation problems, but the steps called for themselves are borderline nonsensical. They are going to hunt down the hybrid pups older than 3 months. They are going to hunt them because a hybrid wolf-dog might “lose its adaptations to its natural environment” but if these hybrids are captured and placed in animal shelters, they might “suffer in captivity” because they are born to be wild – to prevent those two contradictory results, they will hunt and shoot them instead.
Exactly how will they be able to tell the hybrid wolves from the “pure-bred” wolves when they get out to hunt them down? Who knows? …unless the non-wolf parent looked nothing like a wolf (an unlikely chance breeding – certainly not a wolf-dachshund cross). Shoot first, genetic test second?
How is Germany, or any other European country, going to prevent Nature from doing its thing? Two opposite sexed Canis animals, one Canis lupus and one Canis familiaris, meet in the woods, sparks fly, love ensues, and as with human teenagers, the inevitable happens -> Puppies!
Why inevitable? Ask any dog breeder…if you let your female-in-heat get loose even for a few hours, you risk unplanned pregnancy and non-pure-bred pups. And this works both ways with wolves and dogs.
Not everyone is happy with wolf reintroduction – especially ranchers. See these two stories from the US state of Idaho: Imported Timber-Wolves Kill 143 Sheep in Single Day in Idaho and Wolf fight erupts in Idaho over new law allowing unlimited hunting, trapping.
The Guardian gave us Germany’s predation numbers for 2017: “Wolf attacks on livestock increased drastically in 2017, according to government statistics released at the weekend: they carried out 472 attacks, an increase of 66% over the previous year. The number of killed, injured or missing livestock – mostly sheep and goats – rose 55%, to 1,667.”
More recent is this chart from Germany’s Documentation and Federal Advisory Council — National damage statistics:
Each wolf assault results in about three deaths or injuries of domestic animals – mostly sheep. By 2019, dead and injured domestic animals had almost doubled since 2017.
[Aside — I have had to deal with a Canis attack on a herd of sheep – Canis familiaris – lovely pet dogs from down the street. Killed three lambs and injured six ewes badly enough to require a veterinarian. I caught the dogs, each of them smiling and happy at the fun of it all, with snouts dripping blood. All Canis species and sub-species are natural predators.]
The Europeans have set themselves quite a problem – how to reintroduce wolves into a larger environment that includes domestic dogs, many of them allowed to free-range? Germany alone is home to over 10 million pet dogs.
The cross-breeding problem will not and cannot be solved with guns.
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These endangered species laws and regulations are often ill-thought-out and poorly, illogically, instituted and enforced.
As a species, humans are good are domesticating, breeding and raising animals. We are not good at all in our attempts to control Nature and force wild animals back into an environment from which they have been extirpated. [“Biologists use extirpated to describe species that no longer exist in a specific region.”] That’s what re-introduction efforts are – the reverse of extirpation.
The extirpation of large predators was intentional on the part of human society. Not always carried out with careful fore-thought. Early homesteaders could not easily bear the cost of losing livestock to wolves (or bears or cougars). These farmers and ranchers, isolated from other people, feared for their children as well.
I am not yet well-enough informed to make a judgement on the reintroduction of predators large enough to hunt and kill larger domestic animals (cattle, goats, sheep). Such events are common in the present, even though populations of large predators are low. Occasionally, a human is attacked and injured/killed by large predators: mountain lions (Puma concolor) in California; wolves rarely kill or injure humans, though it is not unheard of. As settlements in America moved west from the east coast, wolves were systematically exterminated. Black bears also can and do kill humans (estimated at 25 fatal attacks in the last 20 years). And, of course, then there are the grizzly bears and polar bears (and here).
Unresolved. An interesting problem.
Thanks for reading.
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Might not be mad as you think. Introducing “mules” into the wolf could end up eliminating the species if they become the dominant male.
Mules are by definition infertile.
Do try and make sensible comments.
Infertile offspring that are the dominant breeding partners will quickly decimate populations.
Do you have any evidence that the offspring are infertile?
theyre quite able to breed theyre both the same species
Sparko ==> Some known cross-breeds of other animals do result in infertile off-spring. The mule is an example. Infertility in the mule is more complicated than “infertile”. Horses and donkeys are not the same species and have differing numbers of chromosomes.
Wolves and dogs, however, are the same species Canis lupus…the naming is not cast in stone, but generally Canis lupus or Canis lupus lupus for wolves and Canis familiaris or Canis lupus familiaris for domestic dogs.
Some entomologists are attempting to introduce infertile male mosquitos to reduce mosquito populations.
These efforts have been going on since the 1950’s. The screwfly is another pest it has been attempted with. See:
Introduction · STOP Screwworms: Selections from the Screwworm Eradication Collection · (usda.gov)
D.J. ==> Yes, some others insects as well. A very interesting technique.
When I was in the army, the one and only lieutenant in the lab I was assigned to, Dr. Knipling, was the son of the man who developed the successful technique for eliminating the screwfly.
Same-sex unions, trans/social progress, senior sex, planned parenthood.
Sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation.
Donny Osmond, kirriepete? We need to bring back two-story out houses, with Donny Osmond and his music on the first floor and partakers of Taco Bell on the second.
…and Justin Bieber in the basement/oubliette?
Pat Boone sympathizes with Justin Bieber in a recent WSJ article: “He was just an innocent kid, but then, wow, he went south.”
Did he do something naughty?
I’ll bet you all thought Wall Street Journal was just about business. There’s real content there. Also I’d bet you thought this thread was about wolves. See how wrong you are?
kirriepete ==> Ignore the snarky anti-Osmondists. Millions of American teenaged girls fainted at the sounds of Donny singing “Puppy Love“…..
Not my kind of music, but very popular in its time. (There is “no accounting for taste”.)
How come no one is talking about Marie? She was hot, and certainly not woke.
HEY .. she is still hot.
Don ==> I never cease to be amazed at the variety of comments here — for example, exactly how “wolves in Germany” transmogrified to a discussion of the relative “hotness” (or not) of Marie Osmond….
Gotta be something in the water.
Also the anti-Taco Bellers. There’s a reason it’s the 4th most popular fast food franchise in America.
While Taco Bell does make an atrocious version of a taco, I got to like their tacos when they were the only taco source in town for decades.
After all, there are many fast food chains using some version of mystery meat.
Generic American Gyro chains use a mystery meat column as their meat source.
I noticed that in Europe, gyro stands used a stack of real identifiable meat slices.
stinkerp ==> Ya…”There’s a reason” …. I hear its the Tacos!
Bureaucrats with far too much time on their hands attempting to justify their existence.
How else can you redistribute wealth to, and buy votes off surplus irrelevant people?
“She-wolf”? Can’t write the proper word, can we? But by goodness practice dog eugenics!
Bitch is only for dogs, not wolves.
“Can’t write the proper word, can we?”
Just had to find something to bitch about didn’t you???
Doug ==> She-wolf (or luna-wolf, depending on her position in the wolf pack) is generally used in the literature and among wolf biologists. “Bitch” is the word used for female dogs.
I did try to avoid any mention of enforced racial purity of the Canis genus.
There was a recent story about a wolf pack in Yellowstone that turned on and killed the alpha-female of the pack. I suspect that if a she-wolf somehow became the alpha leader, and was infertile, she would soon be dispatched. Wolves are not ‘woke.’
The nerve of those people! They should know that xe-wolf is the acceptable terminology, although “wolf with ovaries” would be a more inclusive construct.
This makes me think of the Ruddy Duck in the UK. The RSPB want it eradicated so it doesn’t breed with the White Headed Duck. They would rather kill a Ruddy Duck so White Headed Ducks exist for Twitchers to tick off there entry in their sightings book. Sounds racist to me.
Stopped supporting the RSPB.
Been off them ever since they started to support raptor mincing wind farms.
Along with the WWF they are as Marxist and as woke as it gets.
Some humans think they can control Earth’s climate, and some humans think they can control evolution.
Well in ternms of domnestic animals we have been controlling evolution since the bronze age.
Leo ==> Domestication certainly involves a lot of selective breeding — not sure that this can be called ‘evolution‘ in a strict sense.
Here’s an example modern domestication.
Interesting how the more domesticated they become, the more their coloring looks like dogs.
Gunga ==> Ah the Russian Fox guy! Yes, a fascinating story. Over 50 years in the making! Marvelous.
Dr. Dmitri Belyaev (and after his death Dr. Lyudmila Trut) exhibit the kind of dedication and patience needed to do good science.
The important findings of all that work is that foxes could be domesticated by selection for behavioral traits.
And now they have sub-varieties by color. Siberian Cupcake!
Evolution selects characteristics that make it easier for the animal to survive and pass on it’s own genes.
When it comes to domestic species, pleasing the humans, is one of those characteristics that increases an individual’s chances of breeding.
More like retro-evolution or de-evolution in the case of the ankle biters.
MarkW ==> “Evolution” is not a cause, but a result. It is a biologists myth that evolution can or is a cause.
In the real world, the “law” of evolution is that “What breeds and survives, survives to breed.”
The fact of breeding success is what we see and then call “evolution”.
I’ll have to write about this misunderstanding –extremely common.
Domestication dates from the Paleolithic, starting with dogs, which may have domesticated themselves.
As Kip quoted, “… but a wolf can change its behavior and become playful or submissive when it becomes socially isolated.”
I remember reading about an Iditarod contestant who remarked about a black she-wolf that followed her team and would stay back on the edge of the campfire light at night. Perhaps a wolf waiting to be adopted and domesticated.
Usually the same group.
Wolf dogs. Normally called Wogs. Ooops….
Waiting for the Woke Police…1…2…3…
Readers ==> Many Americans may not recognize the word “wog” — in Australian and British English, it is a racial slur.
In the merchant marine, I once witnessed two men try to kill one another over the use of that word.
some people get really irritated over mis-pronunciations. lemme guess, one guy thought it should be pronounced wohg and the other guy thought it should be the standard wawg?
DonM ==> Well, one of them was white South African and one black American….the south African may have used a rude gerund-adjective in front of “wog”.
Nature, to my mind, is defined as the world and its naturally occurring phenomena – living organisms and environments, climate etc. I’m sure even A level students are well aware of phenomena like pre-zygotic and post-zygotic barriers in reproduction, so why all the panic?
“Ending the ‘war on nature’ must be top priority, UN chief urges” – Yahoo News
“wildlife authorities have decided that the pups whelped by a she-wolf after she mated with a domestic dog must be killed – hunted down and shot. “
“Welcome to the wild-wild-world of species protection”
What these people are all about is nothing more than the preservation, in perpetuity, of a snapshot in [Earth] time. A world where the climate doesn’t change (ha!) and the species are protected, or rather controlled because – and it’s important to remember this when dealing with enviro-mentalism – the natural world just cannot cope without human interventions.
What they strive for is arrested development.
abc radio aus ran an item re “rewilding” wolves and bison in eu/uk and the twerp raving it up said the sheep etc killed were going to be used for food anyway so the farmers shouldnt mind
as if the wolves ONLY aimed for meat sheep and stayed away from breeding ewes and rare breeds etc
I don’t see wolves being reintroduced to Scotland simply because in the end they too would have to be managed in some way, hardly what you might call rewilding.
Commercial and agricultural interests won’t have it. Did the radio tell how they see it?
The sheep will be fine as long as they stay off the moors.
The wolf would also need to kill and not consume the sheep right next to the processing plant so that the killed animal could be immediately collected before rot or contamination can set in.
Well they have already succeeded in arresting their own development – after all, they believe in Marxism/socialism as a system of government long after it has been profoundly shown to be an utter disaster everywhere it has been implemented.
strat ==> Maybe they have achieved “arrested development”?
These same people will also declare that individuals, especially women and minorities can only survive if they are protected from everything they disagree with by white, male liberals.
Wolf Hybrids are very often “problem dogs.” There are enough domestic dog species around to choose from (of which some are also problematic …)
…and largely because of their “owners” in our experience locally here in the UK….
yeah? so are pure Dingos in aus and oddly enough?? the ones biting kids and adults and pet dogs ARE the purebreds, the wild cross dogs stay clear
vieirae ==> There is a vast difference between the intentional crossing of wolves and dogs for pets. I once tried to rescue a wolf-dog cross that had been raised on a roof-top in NY City. She was very docile and fawning with me but played way too rough with my children (all in good fun for her, grabbing my kids in her teeth at the back of their necks the throwing them to the ground would have been alright if they had been wolf-pups….). So, yes, I agree, generally a bad idea. I had to move her on to a man with training in a military K9 unit.
The animals in question here are the natural inter-breeding of two animals of the same species — wild wolf and domestic dog “in the wild”.
That isn’t surprising when they are pack animals that follow a leader, when there is one. Nature abhors a vacuum. If a beta human owns a hybrid, the hybrid may attempt to establish dominance.
As an interesting aside, when I was in the Army, I was TDY to Point Barrow for a month for support on ground truthing for a NASA microwave imaging overflight. The camp was largely involved with studying Arctic animals to learn about their adaptations to the cold. There was a large cage amongst the barracks that had about a dozen wolves in it. As I approached the cage, some animals retreated as far as they could from me. Others milled around, agitated but apparently not as frightened as the first group mentioned. However, one female showed no fear and approached me, putting her nose against the heavy-gauge screen. I slipped my index finger out of my leather glove, and put the glove finger through the opening above her nose and rubbed her muzzle. She may have been smart enough to realize there wasn’t any meat in the glove finger, or she might have been friendly. I’ll never know. I related my experience to our native Weasel driver and he remarked to me that a few days before, someone had put a hickory handled hammer, handle first, into the cage as I had done with my glove finger. And, one of the wolves shredded the handle. The takeaway from my experience is that they are highly intelligent animals and have a range of different personalities.
About 60 years ago we had a hybrid cat, Scottish Wild Cat (father) and a domestic moggie (mother). You could see the wild cat in the head and tail in particular. I don’t think this was that uncommon or regarded as a major problem back then. Wildcats were in the area but kept out of the way of humans, which is understandable.
It is now a major threat the survival of the Scottish Wildcat. Whether it is or not I don’t know but if the Wildcat population is declining then I guess it’s a case of any mate will do to ensure survival of the DNA
Ben ==> This is a sticky problem — when two sub-species occupy the same habitat, if the can, they will interbreed. I don’t think it is possible to prevent it other than by totally isolating the one from the other. It can be slowed by captive breeding the “pure bred” population and releasing enough pure animals into the wild increaasing mating opportunities of pure-breds.
The American Bison (buffalo in common tongue) has the same problem — after sharing the same range with cattle, our bison herds all contain some cow DNA.
I think I remember reading that there was one exception to that, but I don’t remember at the moment where it was.
Clyde ==> It was thought for many years that the Yellowstone Bison herd was 100% pure-bred. The link in my comment above is about the discovery that that belief was a myth….the Yellowstone herd ia lso “contaminated” with cattle DNA.
Barncat/bobcat mix…. Usually the bobcats will want to eat the domestic guys, but a girl at the right time gets a pass.
Only one of the kittens survived. It only lived 10 years. It was kittenish its entire life, with needle sharp teeth and claws, and never lost its playfulness.
I once had a kitten from a feral mother that I suspected was half bobcat. He was 20 lbs at a year of age and not fat. He was the smartest cat I ever owned.
The one I referenced above was a neighbors. Female, stayed small, maybe 7 or 8 lbs.
Haven’t seen another since.
Thanks for the report, Kip. Yikes: shoot first and DNA test second? Reminds me of working in Alaska, north slope of Alaska Range, near Wood River. Large groups of caribou and several wolf packs in interactions that were intelligent from the wolf side and reactive from the caribou side. Watching wolves hunt in an organized and clever fashion was an eye opener for me.
Hunting would be more fun if you had to do PCR tests of each animal before killing.
Ron ==> Perhaps you’ll write about your experience….?
KIp, here’s one: large group (400?) of caribou on a plateau, lone wolf walks diagonally in front of them, stops several times to look at them, but keeps walking so as to not intersect them. All caribou eyes on wolf. The rest of the wolf pack runs up a gully behind the caribou and storms out and on top of them quickly, two caribou collide in the stampede and one falls down: No match for a caribou from a falling down start against a wolf pack at full speed. Lunch was served.
Perhaps observing such behavior suggested the idea of a stalking horse to Indians.
Ron ==> Great story! Thanks.
Exactly how will they be able to tell the hybrid wolves from the “pure-bred” wolves when they get out to hunt them down? Who knows?
…and the pups may be harder to kill than they’re expecting-
Play it safe on the road folks as it’s not all about you.
Under this rule, I am surprised that Lon Chaney Jr wasn’t eradicated.
(linked added — kh)
Department of racial hygiene for dogs? Has Germany gone totally nuts?!
A few years ago I was at a movie theater in Olympia,WA. This guy strolled in with a wolf on a leash! Turns out it was a rescue wolf, had the most amazing eyes, he didn’t like the popcorn…
Also back in Vermont, rumor has it that the DNR has released at least one grey wolf into Southern VT but does not want to publicize that fact.
Yirgach ==> My rescued wolf-dog hybrid had wild eyes as well. (see my comment above somewhere).
Re-introduction of wolves in the United States is a Hot Topic!
The The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (informally referred to as NYSDEC) absolutely denies that there are any native, breeding wolves in the state. I have friends who have not only seen, but photographed wolves in the woods near their home. These folks are naturalists and know the difference between wolves, dogs and coyotes. Despite evidence, NY DEC refuses to acknowledge their existence.
I see something similar with the DOW out here in western Colorado. They are talking about introducing wolves just NW of where I live in the woods. The problem is that we had a wolf here five years ago, either that or a 100lb coyote. I reported it to the DOW at the time but don’t think they believed me. I lived with an Arctic wolf for 15 years, 70lbs, amazingly intelligent and loyal once she accepted you. It took two years before she would approach me on her own, but she was fiercely protective and loyal to my wife from the onset. I’ve spoken with ranchers here in the mountains, and they claim to always see wolves.
Speaking of animals who do not exist, we photographed tracks (complete with tail drag) of a large cat and sent them off to a state wildlife biologist. He would not admit it was a mountain lion, but did say they have a 300 mile range. So one cat would would be enough for the entire state of Vermont.Still watching for site of a Yeti, but not yet…
The DNR has released puma, bobcat, and coyotes back into southern Illinois that were once their natural habitat. Black panthers (the cat, not the gang) were once native but, I haven’t heard of their re-introduction. I believe the re-introductions were made to reduce the deer population but, also reduce the small dog and cat populations too.
I have observed the coyotes have flourished. The bobcat and puma are a lot harder to spot. I have only spotted one bobcat and one puma footprint in the last 30 years.
In France I’m told with have a pig mating problem.
niceguy ==> I am loathe to ask, but who is mating with the pigs?
Sangliers! (wild boar)
The author laughed at the idea of a “wolf-dachshund cross-breed”. He underestimates the urge of a bitch in heat! We caught our fragrant Golden Retriever in full prone position to be more accessible to our neighbor’s Doxy-sized male. LOL Nature will find a way!
hiskorr ==> I once had a pair of breeding mini-doxies (wire haired mini-dachshunds). Great dogs…Sharp teeth..Crazy protective mothers.
A very amusing word picture you have painted.
My mother once related to me a story of a female chihuahua that was “playing” with a St Bernhard. An appropriate amount of time later, the chihuahua bitch produced one “very large” puppy. Somehow, they found a way to allow the transfer to occur.
It is because of size differences like that, that hybrids often fail because the female often dies during birthing. It is more likely the female will survive birthing if the female species is larger than the male species.
It occurs to me, it was only a “very large puppy” to the chihuahua. To a St Bernard, it was probably a runt.
Ultimately a sillyass venture, especially with “red wolves”. As all the red wolves are hybrids, purity does not enter into it, really. The notion of preventing dog/wolf or dog/coyote breeding is futile.
Tom ==> Hard to trick or force Nature….
Not so futile if the aim is job preservation not the stated aim. Take a look at the Great Barrier Reef “scientists” for a larger example.
Someone has to mention the Polar Bear/Brown Bear issue. My understanding is they are able to mate and hence Polar Bear are favored in a relative Ice Age, like now, but will convert to brown-ness in a prolonged ice and snow free climate.
Yes, browns and polars can interbreed and the cross is fertile. Depending on who Mom is, they are known colloquially as either Browlors or Pizzlies. Fun fact. In the Inuit language they make exactly the same hybrid joke. So apparently not an uncommon occurrence in the Canadian Arctic. Wrote about in essay Polar Bears in ebook Blowing Smoke.
This cross breeding of wolves with domestic dogs (domesticated wolves) isn’t a new thing at all in Europe. In France there was the Beast(s) of Gevaudan – thought by some to be a wolf-dog hybrid:
Also, the gene(s) for black coloration in both wolves and coyotes is not natural to either species – it came from back crosses with domestic dogs. Therefore, probably most coyotes and many wolves have a tiny percentage of dog DNA in them. If the Germans want to go about killing off all hybrids, there will be very few, if any, pure wolves left!
Lee ==> “the gene(s) for black coloration in both wolves and coyotes is not natural to either species – it came from back crosses with domestic dogs.” Yes, that is the generally accepted idea.
Unless the Germans can do a genetic test from a distance, they will be shooting wolves along wit the hybrids.
“If the Germans want to go about killing off all hybrids,”
Didn’t they try that back in the 1930’s?
Makes sense to me…..
They hate change yet they want to change things by reintroducing critters into areas where they no longer exist.
Then when Nature takes it’s course, they want to change it.
Wolves will naturally mate with a coyote if there are no female wolves available.
The “coyotes” aka coydogs in the NE US are a perfect example. In parts of Manitoba Canada they are called algonquin’s. 80-90 lbs ish in size. Utube has/had a bunch of videos of guys snaring/trapping them. I’ve stretched a few hides over the years on the farm,
mostly coyote and beaver. This time of year it’s what I used to do.
I have trail cams around the place and have tons of photos. I put a few pics on my phone
and at the various repair shops the phones come out we show our new pics. At one
place there was a mid level forest service guy waiting and after he saw some of
the pics on the phones he said we might know more than their biologists…
When the ADC guys trap a problem wolf they
take a hair sample and it is DNA tested. The wolf reinto guys don’t want the public
to know about the crosses but they are real.
Mr. Ed (not the famous horse, I assume) ==> Are you in Manitoba?
“Wolves will naturally mate with a coyote if there are no female wolves available.” This is a biologists myth, I believe. Male Canids will mate with any female-Canid-in-heat if she will stand for it, which she is inclined (almost forced) to do by nature. I don’t think male Canids are that choosey — “Let me see, is this in-heat-panting-for-it female Canid a pure-bred wolf? a cross-breed? a coyote? a dog?”
One either accepts Nature as it is or pretends to some “I’m the expert” BS. Of course the Canids interbreed….the drive to mate overcomes almost all barriers.
(Ask the 19-year old boy next door…)
No I’m in Montana
As a livestock producer I’ve been interested in this issue since
the government transplanted some timber wolves from Canada.
I’ve had the chance to meet several professional’s involved
with the management of this mess. . A number of years
ago I was skiing out of the backcountry near the family ranch and found
a notebook on the trail. I picked it up put it in my pack and finished
skiing out.. It turned out to be from a -contract biologist group-that was
doing work for the enviro’s suing the forest service to stop different logging
projects.. these biologist would snowmobile around the different areas and
gather their data for the greens. paid by Ted Turner
The green’s are well financed and organized. I used to read
about the different lawsuits involving the Forest Service and The Alliance
for the Wild Rockies ect. Not a whole lot in that notebook but the entire event
was enlightening in that not too many know about the contract green’s deal
These are much aligned with the climate change
groups –eg Sierra Club ect.
The reintroduction of wolves on the western slope of Colorado Rockies would be fine with me. We dyed-in-the-wool liberal voters approved it and the geography revealed by the positive voters shows where on the Western Slope the reintroduction would get the most traction.
The elk population throughout the Rockies is pretty ridiculous with leisurely herds migrating in front of cars and grazing in pastures above the mountain homes. What’s called for is not more hunters imo… but a population above 280,000 could easily sustain a couple of packs of wolves which would feel right at home as they culled out the overpopulating ungulates.
The probem in this idyllic view of nature is with the humans. USFAWS will reintroduce and “manage” their poplulations, meaning presumably allowing them to be hunted, but they will have to keep a close watch over the radio collared packs for the foreseeable future because they no doubt will be baited and shot, poisoned, or trapped. If we did it once we can do it again.
Besides, they are loading up the forests around Vail and Aspen and this might help bring down the population of skiers coming to Colorado.
The wolves had a major impact on the elk population in MT and ID since their reintroduction 20 yrs ago and continue to do so today. Idaho rewrote their 2010 wolf management plan back in 2020. the Lolo herd
on the Idaho side went from 20K head in 2010 to around 2K in 2020..
They’ve completely wiped out some of the North Yellowstone
The Center for Biological Diversity currently has a lawsuit to reintroduce
them throughout the entire country.. I say why stop with the
wolves, add some grizzly bears to the deal for some real fun.
There is nothing like smelling the strong odor of something dead
in a brushy creek bottom a few hundred yards from your house
some summer evening in grizzly country and having to investigate
the scene to see what’s making that awful smell. It’s like being
the main character in some African hunting adventure story.
Loaded shotgun on low ready safety off, finger on the trigger
and take a step and focus….all your senses become surreal.
Your get to live life in the moment, as they say.
The wolves push the elk
and deer down near the homestead or the winter range
pastures..Then the mt lions come down to hunt after dark..
The wolves and bears haven’t seemed have an impact
on the ski areas in MT or in Jackson Hole..just the rancher/
farmers and hunters.
If I were a cattle or sheep rancher I would hate this. I would not want to have a bunch of predators prowling around my property after my grandfather went to all the trouble of poisoning them in the first place. Wilth a little effort I could think differently about this but I don’t own mountain property. And I’ll gladly cheer on the reintroduction from a distance. On TV. On the other hand, Colorado’s west slope and the SW part of the state particularly are big ranches. Ranchers are just going to buy an extra lllama or two lllamas…or else apply to the state for recompense since the generous Colorado government is prepared to pay up to $8,000 for every animal kilt without a fair trial.
The original wolves that were exterminated were a sub-species,
the buffalo wolf. The new wolves are timber wolves. Different
beasts. To get a true prospective of what the situation was
like back after the buffalo were killed off find a copy of the book
Jordan, written by Arthur J Jordan. The town of Jordan MT is
named after him. He was an immigrant and was involved with
wolfing among other things.
He didn’t use poison. He used wolf hounds. He would ride out early in the morning with his hounds looking for a wolves. He would ride till he found a pack on a cow they had killed and had eaten the night before. Wolves
after gorging all night couldn’t run and the wolf hounds
would run them to bay and Arthur would then ride up on the
scene and shoot the entire pack. It’s still done today with coyotes
but with wolf hound grey hound crosses. Check out Utube for
some interesting video. Llamas??? You haven’t a clue.
He gained a wide spread reputation and was in high demand in central/east MT. It’s a good book if you like authentic western history. The original buffalo wolfs were eventually exterminated..
The bottom line is it will cost a lot of money for the Greens to bring back the wolves in CO. Just the first few years here in MT
the economic impacts in just the Upper Yellowstone River area alone was said to be in the 100 million dollar range annually. Understand that when a Ag Producer looses a dollar they have to earn 7 dollars back to just break even for that dollar loss. But hey who need farmers and ranchers?
Colorado farmers and ranchers would likely applaud the reintroduction of wolves since they suffer from extensive damages by elk herds. Those damages, paid by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), are in the millions annually, and state taxpayers are on the hook for them. Fences, vegetable crops, hay and alfalfa, sunflower, orchards, meadow grazing, seed corn, forage, etc are all subject to depredation of elk herds. Colorado’s herds are the biggest in the U.S., twice the size of Montana’s, thanks to our green policies of exterminating predators. If your “bottom line” is money, you have to factor this costs in.
IMO, more hunters are not the answer if you listen to the landowners whose property is being invaded by some of the most high-pressure hunting in the states:
As for the deterrence capabilities of llamas, there’s a reason why they are used to guard flocks in South America. They are protective of sheep flocks and routinely charge predators including mountain lion and coyotes. Though they are about twice the size of a full grown wolf and would probably attack one, they would not fare well against a pack. However, paired with a guard dog… who knows? My own “bottom line” is that wolves will go after and cull out the elk herds’ weakest and sickest animals since they are not being protected, creating healthier herds and individuals.
Bill ==> I’ve heard that the wild populations of skiers exceed the carrying capacity of the environment — thus, they must be culled.
I hear that cutting off their credit cards prevents breeding…..
“I hear that cutting off their credit cards prevents breeding…..”
Too domesticated to survive in the wild.
Too wild to survive in captivity.
Seems Schrödinger’s cats have a competitor.
Scarecrow ==> At least someone gets the point….they got some weird ideas over there in Germany. of course, it is a “legal decision” not real world biology.
Since when did “saving” any “endangered” species have to make sense? And was that really the objective to begin with? Wildfires and the spotted owl hoax – CFACT
When I found that link, I was actually looking for the story that the barred owl is really just a variant of the spotted owl. Or vice versa. Based on some rather recent DNA sequencing and comparisons. Was that an item published on here at some time?
If a female human were to produce “Puppies”, I think we would have heard, don’t you? Might even make Ripley’s Believe it or Not? (sarcasm, in case anyone could not tell.)
Well, there is that one rhyme that starts with “Mary had a little lamb…”
“…the doctor was surprised, but when Old MacDonald had a farm, the doctor nearly died!”
Hmmm … Maybe that explains why the cat was in the cradle?
The proper definition of “species”, back in the day I took biology, was “the set of animals that can mate and produce fertile young.
Thus, wolves and dogs are conspecific, being varieties within a species.
Horses and donkeys, however, are not conspecific: when they mate they produce only infertile mules
It is absurd to hunt down and kill animals to protect them from being maladaptive. That’s what nature takes care of just fine. And maybe some of the crosses are adaptive and life gains a new variety.
Usually. I think I remember reading that one out of 10,000 is fertile. But, with rates like that, it is rare to be able to find a fertile male and female alive at the same time. I think I remember something about a standing offer for a fertile jenny.
I remember it being such a big deal it made my “Weekly Reader” (a first and second grade level reader, well, maybe all the way up to 4th grade) when a jenny mule gave birth to a live fully mule foal, meaning not only was the jenny fertile, they had also found a fertile jack. (Or is it more accurate to use the horse identifiers of mare and stallion?) So if the odds of finding a fertile jenny is 1:10,000, and likewise for a fertile jack, then obtaining both at once the odds must be 1:100,000,000? I’m not an expert on statistics nor probabilities, and may have misapplied what little I ever learned, is that the correct decimal placement?
kwinterkorn ==> “It is absurd to hunt down and kill animals to protect them from being maladaptive.” Wish I has used that sentence!
A late and somewhat lengthly ‘scientific’ comment supporting Kip’s excellent post. Wolves and coyotes are truly different species by almost any species definition. Wolves are about 2x coyote body mass, and hunt big game in packs. They howl in packs at the moon (on my Wisconsin farm). The half wolf sized coyotes hunt ‘small game’ (like field mice) in solitary and yap solo at the moon. Unmistakeably different DNA. Yet they can fertilely interbreed to produce coywolves like the red wolf. (See more about red wolves in essay ‘No Bodies’ in ebook Blowing Smoke.)
Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) were domesticated from wolves (Canis lupus) only about 30k year ago, possibly twice but for sure once in Siberia. So of course they can interbreed, since any differences are NOT in their DNA but rather only in their epigenetics.
Epigenetics has only recently been understood even partly. The best example is dry bean pulses. About 8000 years ago, South American, Central American, and Mexican Native Americans selected different landraces from a common (and still common DNA) ancestor plant, P. vulgaris. So black beans, red beans, white ‘navy’ beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and more are all the same plant DNA — but expressing different epigenetics so ‘different’ beans. Wrote about this years ago over at Judith’s in an essay concerning the likely origins of agriculture around the world as a function of rising CO2 after the last glacial maximum. Interesting stuff.
Are there any nouns that could fill the blank without being a true statement? Bear in mind that the curvature of bananas is regulated.
Your mistake is in assuming that these laws are intended to protect the racial purity of wolves.
They are actually intended to protect the jobs of those who interpret and enforce these laws.
The more confusing the laws are, the more secure the jobs are.
1) The on the ground enforcer is usually a person unable to understand DNA details of hybrids. Instead they rely upon physical clues to identify their cull. Sadly, their inability to positively identify hybrids versus pure breeds makes their cull somewhat reckless.
2) People have a bad habit of assuming something to which they have little knowledge.
History identifies wolf bites and attacks on humans.
Exterminating wolves was seen as best for people and their herds and flocks.
2a) The USA ran programs where poison baits were placed in areas suffering wolf caused depredations. A program that is likely the true cause of raptor endangerment with eagles frequent victims.
As with other dangerous animals, activists love to claim animals do not threaten or harm people. Yet, people in Michigan have already experienced wolf confrontations with low wolf population restoration.
The greatest danger to man from wolves was not death, but from wolf bites. Violent wolf-human interactions are common when rabies is involved.
Quite a few locations have wild dog packs. Even domesticated dogs become feral when running in a pack.
Alleged scientists who fail to acknowledge that dogs revert to their genetics are daft.
You’re evil if you compare this to an honor killing.