Wednesday 13 January 2016 | 5

The world according to wolves

The world according to wolves

Mis à jour le 05 March 2018

The wolf is sitting at the top of the summit. A large dark furred Alpha male, his chest is pushed forward in a solemn pose. He fixes his two yellow eyes on the valley stretching out below him, scattered with forests, fields and a few small roads encompassing the rocky sides of the Alps. This is his pack's territory.

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He listens. On the grassy slopes, a marmot dashes into his burrow. Further away, an owl skims the bushes in soft flight. A panicked shrew can be heard running. Far away in the distance, more than two hundred kilometres from here, another clan howls.

The kingdom of senses

He observes. The night falls gently over the land, while the fog settles and the temperature drops. Like a cat, the glowing eyes of the wolf catch the slightest snatch of light. His long distance vision is limited, but his 250° peripheral vision detects the even the most subtle movement in the multiple shades of grey in the evening dusk.

Stretching out his wet nose, he deeply inhales the air pulling it down to his Jacobson's organ, the olfactory amplifier situated behind his upper incisors. With a sense of smell nearly 20,000 times stronger than ours, we can only try to imagine what he perceives. Painting a landscape of fragrances in his brain, these scents portray the wind, the stones, the trees, and the animals. He takes a more delicate breath… Surprise! Whilst he was sleeping, a stranger had had the audacity to cross the trail towards the lair! A three year old Beta male, measuring around a metre at the withers, had marked his path with a provocative spray of urine. He will have to deal with him soon.

Genuine love

Behind him, the pack wakes from a long afternoon nap. He hears footsteps: the female Alpha wolf climbs to meet him. He watches his companion approach. She is beautiful, with her pale grey coat, almost white. His heartbeat quickens. They have been together many years…… But the years pass quickly for wolves, who don't live much longer than big dogs.

They play; teasing each other, rolling around, biting their manes for amusement, playing like children amidst growls. They are still very much in love. If ever one of them should be taken away, killed by a gunshot, the one left behind would be broken hearted but would rebuild a relationship. And if one of them should ever be in danger, ill, or injured, their partner would do everything they could to help them, even risking their own life, as would any of the pack members. Their love is a force that binds and strengthens the clan. 

Squeaking, the dishevelled wolf cubs emerge from the den. Wobbly on their feet, they blink their eyes. Today is the first day they have come out of the deep tunnel dug under a hollow tree, between two roots, where the female wolf has nursed them for the last three weeks.

Live for the family

The rest of the clan gather immediately around the little cubs. Big brothers, big sisters… In total, ten people keep a watchful eye on them, coddling them as if they were their own. Whilst under the Alpha couple's authority, no pack member is permitted to have their own children. But under their guardianship, they form a solid clan: efficient, inventive and dominating a vast territory that they won't share with any other tribe. 

The Alpha couple protect every one of them, their combined intelligence ensures that they are all well fed. One day, some will leave. The mother wolf will be happy to let them go and create other families, on other territories, as much as the humans will leave to them.

The wolf drops his head for a moment, pensive, assembling all of the information he has absorbed in his mind. Later, using physical gestures, in a show of yelps, growling and succinct barks, he will ensure that his troop understands the decisions he has made on how the night hunt will proceed.

The wolves' message

It's time to go. So the wolf turns to his clan and points his muzzle to the sky, neck stretched out. He howls. Or rather, he sings an E note, resonating progressively higher, soon be joined by the female wolf, her voice entwining his like ivy. 

The other clan members join in, in their individual tones, reflecting their position in the hierarchy. The Alpha couple sing the deepest, the Omegas sing the highest and the Betas form a barking choir. Each wolf has his own trademark sound, recognisable to his comrades. This song unites the tribe, as the rest of the tribe return to join in. 

This beautiful song is sung for that reason, and to send the message far and wide that the pack is strong. The voices spiral upwards until the moon, as the wolves lift their heads in turn, happy. This is the world according to the wolves, one of courage, love and beauty.

If you would like to know more: See One Voice's campaign.

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In the subject

Stuffed animal trafficking: three men are going before the Nancy Legal Tribunal on 13 October Wolves: Coordination Rurale (CR87) in Haute-Vienne tries to silence One Voice by banning a protest

Comments 5

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cannelle44 | Thursday 12 December 2019

Comment peut-on exterminer de tels animaux qui vivent leur vie de manière si intelligente ? Laissons-les vivre... Je crois qu'il n'y a qu'en France que cela pose problème et c'est bien dommage ! C'est quoi cette mentalité de vouloir tout exterminer ? Lamentable, certains se croient encore au Moyen-Âge !

Nath | Wednesday 03 February 2016

Oui, magnifiques ces animaux ; qu'ils soient protégés !

eva | Monday 18 January 2016

Depuis des lustres le loup vivait en paix avec la nature !!!!! Aujourd hui on le tue????? pourquoi leur faire ça !!!!! On doit vivre avec les loups...... il faut les laisser tranquilles ou bien les déplacer si nécessaire !!!!!! STOP aux massacres, ils sont tellement beaux ....

SidGey29 | Friday 15 January 2016

Au Canada, pour vivre en harmonie avec les ours, des propriétaires limitrophes des forêts font des dépôts de nourriture en lisière de forêt l'hiver pour éviter d'être en conflit alimentaire et cela semble fonctionner. Il y a des solutions !!