WOLVES & WOLF DOGS
At Jaws & Paws we are working to protect Gray Wolves in the U.S. and recover them in California. It is a critical time period for Gray Wolves because they are currently at risk of being removed from the endangered species list. Gray Wolves were nearly extirpated last century, and have slowly been making a recovery throughout the U.S. in several Northern states.
Humans are the primary cause of Gray Wolf fatalities. During the 1900’s in the U.S. people waged war against wolves because they were seen as pests. President Roosevelt actually called for Gray Wolves’ eradication and their population decreased to as little as 300. Gray Wolves were hated because people blamed them for cattle and livestock fatalities. However, most of the time livestock perished from coyotes or human interference. Wolves account for .01 percent of livestock deaths. These majestic creatures were completely demonized in the media by stereotypes and misconceptions, and this misleading propaganda led to the extirpation of wolves. Wolves were wiped out from almost every state, but what many didn't realize is that wolves are much more valuable alive than dead!
In the 1980’s when conservation laws were finally established, wolves’ numbers slightly improved, and today there as many as 11,000 Gray Wolves in North America. With increased awareness, education, and concern for the environment in the U.S. the government became more serious about protecting endangered species like the Gray Wolf. However, there are still many battles to be won. Gray Wolves are killed all the time by farmers and people who see them as a nuisance. Due to deforestation, wolves are losing their habitats and are sometimes forced to attack livestock. Therefore, people often poison or shoot them. Sometimes dens are even gassed and pups are electrocuted alive, and some inhumane poachers/ranchers have been known to make a sport out of wolf hunting.
So why is it so important to protect the Gray Wolf? The Gray Wolf is an apex predator, meaning it is an animal at the top of the food chain with a vital role in maintaining health and balance in its surrounding ecosystems. Removing the top predator of a habitat has drastic effects on vegetation, water, and fauna. There has been evidence that when wolves are present, we see an abundance of clean water, healthy vegetation, thriving oxygen levels and steady prey populations. This was proven in the case of the Yellowstone National Park, when elk ruled the forests before wolves were reintroduced. The plethora of elk caused vegetation to dwindle and increased drought seasons. Since there was nothing to keep elk populations in check, they overpopulated and contributed to a major decline in native vegetation. This in turn caused there to be more pollution in the rivers and lakes of Yellowstone, because plants filter out impurities. The lack of flora also created a problem for beavers because they need trees and shrubs to build dams, and dams are crucial in preventing droughts as well as maintaining a healthy water flow. Dams are a welcome mat for biodiversity because they provide a perfect environment for amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, etc. Beavers keep rivers from drying up, and healthy vegetation keeps rivers from flooding. Therefore, more wolves result in more trees, more water, and bountiful flora. Apex predators like wolves reduce the affects of climate change and other external threats in their ecosystems.
Since we are going through a drought right now in California, it wouldn’t hurt to replenish our forests and bring wolves back to their homes. Wolves were exterminated from every state except Minnesota and Alaska. Although they are now slowly making a comeback in Oregon and Michigan, they weren’t present in California in over 100 years, and we have clearly seen a dramatic increase in drought seasons, which happens to parallel with the fact that our predators have died out (wolves, grizzlies wiped out at one point and mountain lions, bobcats on the decline). However, in 2011 OR7 became the first wolf to return to California. The wolf migrated down from Oregon looking for a mate, and recently had wolf pups. This was a milestone step for wolves and wolf conservationists. Our goal is to make it safe for Gray Wolves in California and continue to protect them in the U.S., not only for the survival of their species but also for humanity’s well-being.
Steps we are taking to help
Jaws & Paws is helping by partnering with the California Wolf Center, an organization with a wolf reserve that instills conservation methods for wolves in North America. We plan to safe guard wolves by providing a solution that involves humans and wolves living harmoniously. We will promote conservation tactics through education, outreach, awareness, and governmental protection.
Education programs and public outreach to build support and tolerance for wolves (schools, camps, etc.)
Legal protection for wolf populations to provide more habitat and reserves for them
Awareness through media, public service announcements, and social networking campaigns
Developing solutions to human/wolf conflict pertaining to livestock by providing people with nonlethal predator deterrents (steers them away from killing wolves)
Utilizing wolves from reserves and rescues as ambassadors to spread awareness and promote more tolerance
Our Adopt-a-Wolf program in conjunction with the California Wolf Center is aiding in raising funds for various species of wolves (see below).
Owning wolf dogs has become a popular trend in our country. Many people think the idea of owning a wolf-hybrid is ‘cool’, but don’t realize the amount of care it actually requires. Wolf-hybrids are not dogs and have different nutritional, life-style, and health needs. A lot of the time, when owners get overwhelmed they leave their wolf-hybrids at shelters. By law in California, wolf-dogs must be euthanized if a sanctuary or certified rescue doesn’t take them in. Surprisingly, we get weekly calls about wolf dogs that need homes all over the country. At Jaws and Paws, we give hybrids a second chance by saving, vetting, and providing sanctuary for them. Our wolf dogs act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. They are a great help in educating the public about the true nature of wolves. If you would like to set up a hike with our wolf-dogs at our sanctuary email firstname.lastname@example.org!