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The question arises again and again. How dangerous is the Wolf? Is its predation really so terrible? Perhaps it is time to get some facts on the table as opposed to the wild speculations, the mythology, and the often prejudiced closed-mindedness of his enemies.
In a period of fifty years of close up handling of wolves, plus the study and observation in the wild when I was much younger, I have arrived at some definite conclusions concerning the big fellow. Here are a few of them.
Yes, the Wolf is a dangerous animal. Under certain circumstances he is quite capable of inflicting serious injury or even death upon his adversary. Properly bonded psychologically and in the hands of a knowledgeable handler, he is hardly more dangerous than old Shep. Unfortunately, too many wolves are falling into the hands of incapable people; thus the end results: injuries, escapes, and yes, in a few cases, death.
However, there has never been a proven case of a healthy, free running wolf ever attacking a human in the western hemisphere. It is only when in the hands of an insensitive, poorly instructed individual that the Wolf ever inflicts injury on a human. For instance, staking it out in a yard on a chain, confining it in a too small pen, teasing excessively, failure to enforce pack leadership upon it. Starvation (Yes, there is a lot of this). Abuse, both physical and mental as well as emotional.
Now lets sum it all up and compare with old Shep and yes, even the Collie dog, especially the Shepherds as well as the Danes and Dobermans are sometimes very dangerous under these environmental factors. So, [is the Wolf] dangerous? Not a whole lot (if any more) than any large animal. Pick up the paper — a Shetland pony killed a child at so and such a place. A Bull killed its owner. A Stallion injures its handlers. A Moped “Accident” kills a couple of children. Two Danes in Maryland kill a 14 year old boy. A Shepherd in Illinois kills and partly eats a baby.
These tragedies hardly make the front page. They are barely mentioned on radio, TV. Yet, let a poor old badly maligned wolf inflict injury on ANY “poor helpless” person and it makes all the news media and is repeated time and again, and the Wolf is a wanton killer in the eyes of the general public.
Trace the events leading up to the injury or death by the Wolf and you will find that the creature was not properly controlled. That the fault is in the owner or handler, due to one or a combination of the neglect and errors above mentioned.
So what shall we do? Ban the ownership of Canis Lupus? Impossible. There will still be those who will acquire them. There will still be those who will own and keep hybrids which when “poorly bred” are just as dangerous as the pure bred Wolf. Or shall we embark upon an educational process and use careful regulations concerning the control and care of both Canis Lupus and Canis Lupus-Lupus Familiaris?
I myself have spent a half century and thousands upon thousands of dollars in education of the public and breeding and distributing a near perfect High % Cross/Over–Cross/Back Hybrid to carefully educated people with nearly perfect compatibility between my product and Homo Sapiens. Unfortunately, there a lot of you out there and my limited resources (without those big government grants that my critics get or have received in the past) has limited my ability to provide education to as many as I would have liked to reach. However and now, many of my erstwhile pupils are now carrying on my work and quite efficiently, too. Thus hope for the future of the Wolf.
We need more. We need many dedicated people who can see farther than the price of a pelt. Farther than the predation upon the now carefully cultivated big game herds. People who can see far enough ahead to realize that the weeding out of the inferior game animals, thus leaving strong and intelligent to breed with their peers, has produced our fine game animals that the sports person and meat hunters now enjoy.
We need people who accept the Wolf for what it really is. A big capable canine that has the ability to psychologically bond with we humans. Not a super race, not a little Bambi, but just a big friendly ancestor of our dog, that requires a lot of red meat. Yes, he requires red meat and intestinal fat and quite a lot of it. But properly managed our environment can supply plenty of it for both Man and Wolf.
Control? Yes. Any animal can during the course of a high % birth and survival cycle over populate to the extent that some control measures will need to be used. Unfortunately, and in the past as well as sometimes in the present day thinking, the powers that be as well as public opinion swing rapidly to the same old theme (Kill Em All).
“They are trash.” “The world don’t need or want them.” It took evolution one hundred million years to develop the Wolf to what it is today. Would we even suggest that it does not have the right to exist? Even if it must be in the control and handling by the well screened and instructed public?
Some of my adversaries to the breeding and distribution of my successful hybrids claim that the hybrid doesn’t have the right to exist, that it isn’t needed in the crowded world. Not being able to realize that the advanced educational process of owning and handling the hybrid is the one necessary element leading to the preservation of the ancestral species.
Too bad that this RACISM as well as the ELITISM involved in the scientific field (which says that THEY can own them, they can keep them, they can torture them with their damnable “so called” research, but you and I cannot because we are just commoners and serfs) must be supported by big government grants that come directly out of your pocket and mine.
Now a question to my readers. Why and if the Wolf is such a damned killer, such a terrible predator, have I never been injured in the fifty plus years that I have been in close contact with them? Then why did a certain and I quote, “Mild Mannered Scientist,” end of quote, get all living hell bit out of him “temporarily” in front of MGM’s cameras? Now I hear that his big government grants just aren’t so big now. Maybe he will be curtailed in his massive propaganda that would forbid confinement raising of meat animals, forbidding hybridization, forbidding ownership of pure wolves, as well as many other little oddities brought here from the Old World in 1962.
Now I’m not an overnight expert, I’m not even an expert, but I do and stand ready to prove to anyone that I handle, pet, feed, breed and live with pure bred and hybrid wolves and that not a day passes that they do not come to me, submit and beg for domination (mild shaking of neck and accepting their front paws in “so-called” handshaking). So why? Why all this big hullabaloo about how mean and macho they are? Let’s tell it like it is. Not a Devil, not a Saint, but instead just a big friendly, capable canine, capable of doing anything the dog does, except to run free next to mankind.