Grey Wolves Essay, Research Paper
The gray wolf has a larger natural distribution than any other mammal except humans. It formerly inhabited all of North America from Alaska and Arctic Canada south to central Mexico and was found in Europe and Asia southward to the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of India and China. It lived in almost every type of habitat in the Northern Hemisphere. The gray wolf has been eliminated from much of its original range. In North America it is now found primarily in Canada and Alaska, with smaller numbers in Minnesota and Mexico. In 1995 wolves were reintroduced in wilderness areas of the northern Rocky Mountains. Large numbers of gray wolves still live in Russia and neighbouring countries and in the Balkans, with much smaller populations isolated in parts of central and southern Europe and Scandinavia.
Wolves are active mostly at night. A wolf pack feeds primarily on large animals such as deer, moose, and caribou, which it catches by a stalk and a chase. The pack hunts when food is available, usually reducing the carcass to hair and a few bones. In its hunting the gray wolf performs by weeding out those who are weaker a typical survial of the fittest. Unfortunately, it may attack domestic livestock and has thus undergone persecution by humans. There have been few substantiated wolf attacks on humans in North America, but such attacks, though unusual, have definitely occurred in other parts of the world and have sometimes resulted in death.
Gray wolves breed between January and April, and a litter of on average 6 to 7 pups is born in the spring after a gestation period of about 63 days. The young are reared in a den which is normally a natural hole or a burrow, usually in a hillside. All the members of a pack care for the young, who are fed with meat regurgitated by their parents after a hunt. Juveniles remain with the pack until they reach sexual maturity at less than two years, after which they leave to search for a mate and establish new territories.