FIRST IN SERIES BY DAZZLING COINS
The gray wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the timber wolf, western wolf, or simply, wolf, is a canine native to the wilderness and remote areas of Eurasia and North America. It is the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb) and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). Like the red wolf, it is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, and brown to black also occur.
A ONCE PLENTIFUL SPECIES
Once the world's most widely distributed mammal, the grey wolf has become extinct across much of its former range and its present distribution is much restricted. The decline of North American wolf populations coincided with increasing human populations and the expansion of agriculture. By the start of the 20th century, the species had almost disappeared from the eastern USA. The decline in North American wolf populations was reversed from the 1930s to the early 1950s, particularly in southwestern Canada. Canadian wolves began to naturally re-colonize northern Montana around Glacier National Park in 1979, and the first wolf den in the western U.S. in over half a century was documented there in 1986.
A LESSON IN ECOLOGY
The foraging and feeding ecology of gray wolves is an essential component to understanding the role that top carnivores play in shaping the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. In Yellowstone National Park (YNP), predation studies on a highly visible, reintroduced population of wolves are increasing our understanding of this aspect of wolf ecology.