Around the world and over the centuries, some culture have honered wolves as noble and spiritual,while others have maligned them as evil and dangerous. With the development of wildlife science has come a much better understanding of wolf behavior. But many misconceptions about wolves remain-sometimes these beliefs prevent the animal's recovery and survival.

Are Wolves Dangerous?

Wolves are big,strong predators, so many people see them as dangerous.But there has never been a documented case in North America of a healty, wild wolf killing or injuring a human being since records started being kept in the 1800s. Any attacks that have been documented occurred because wolves had rabies or were habituated by humans (like wolf-dog hybrids kept as pets). In contrast, millions of people are attacked each year by domestic dogs.

Do Wolves Kill Livestock?

Livestock can be easy prey for all predators, and ranchers and farmers do suffer some losses. But other causes (like weather, disease, and calving problems) cause far more livestock deaths than predation by wolves. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in the Northern Rockies region in 2001, wolves were responsible for only .03% of cattle and 1.3% of sheep deaths from all causes and 1% of cattle and 0.4% of sheep deaths due to predators.

Improved livestock husbandry practises make a big difference, like rotating and guarding herds, keeping them away from wolf denning and rendezvous sites, and removing dead cows and sheep from fields so wolves don't get used to feeding on livestock. Some organisation and states also compensate livestock producers for losses caused by wolves.

Do Wolves Kill Dogs?

It's natural for wild canids (dog species) to defend their territories-wolves do so against other wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs. As a result, wolves occasionally attack and kill dogs they see as a threat.

This can happen when hunters let dogs range free and pets are left outside homes in areas with wolves. There are many ways to reduce wolf-dog conflict and protect pets from potential harm, like keeping them collared and belled, closely supervised, and away from wolf denning and rendezvous sites at certain times of the year.

Do Wolves Reduce Hunting Opportunities?

Wolves hunt and kill the same animals humans do (notably deer and elk). However, there is little evidence to support contentions that wolves cause unhealthy decreases in the size of herds and reduce hunting opportunities for humans. For example, Minnesota had its highest record deer harvests in 2003 and 2004, while at the same time supporting approximately 2,000 wolves.

Factors like harsh winter weather, traffic, disease, and parasite outbreaks have a far greater impact on herds than wolves, which kill a relatively small number of animals.

In some places where wolves have returned after a long absence, deer and elk have become more vigilant and move around more-although this can make hunting more challenging in certain places, it doesn't mean that game animals aren't available for hunting.

Aren't There Enough Wolves?

With much of the nation's land now developed and natural environments very changed, the large numbers of wildlife that once existed will probably never return. The goal of wolf recovery is to have healthy, wild populations of wolves living and surviving in as much as their former ranges as possible.

This goal is a key part of an important law, the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. And as studies and polls show, public opinion is on the side of more wolf recovery.

Although there are significant wolf populations in Alaska and the wolves in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies regions are recovering, wolves are just beginning to recover in the Southwest and Southeast and are still missing from the Northeast and other places. And the state management plans, regulations, and public attitudes sometimes compromise the health and survival of existing wolf populations.

Further land conversation, education, and recovery efforts are clearly needed, and wolves will require protection and support for a long time to come.

Photo: Natally

Inescapably, the realization was being borne in upon my preconditioned mind that the centuries-old and universally accepted human concept of wolf character was a palpable lie... From this hour onward, I would go open-minded into the lupine world and learn to see and know the wolves, not for what they were supposed to be, but for what they actually were.
-Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

Responses to "The Truth About Wolves: Facts vs. Fiction"

  1. Thank you so much for telling the truth about all wolves. They have been going silenced for the wrong reasons. We are their voices and they need to be heard louder and stronger.

  2. JOHNNY DOLLAR says:


  3. “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack”
    We Are Brothers and Sisters ! Thank you for your fidelity
    White Wolf Pack

  4. keekster says:

    Very informative and beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing this :)

  5. White Wolf Pack, you are such a wonderful blessing, and I thank you for all of your informative information you always bring ! Keep up the good work ! I will keep sharing your blessed insite with all my friends and fellow advocates !!!

  6. Thank you for the REAL truth many myths about these magnificent animals. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  7. Anonymous says:

    The wolf is a magnificent animal and should be protected

  8. Anonymous says:

    A beautiful post,I loved it....

  9. Kathy says:

    Thank you for giving these wonderful creatures a voice!

  10. Little Feather says:

    Thank you for clearing up some of the "myth's" about our Wolves. And, I know SOME people will still say, "yeah, right...whatever"...only because they refuse to acknowledge the truth due to what they have thought for so long. Wolves are incredible and beautiful creature's and they need all of our support so they can continue to share the Mother Earth with us.

  11. Anonymous says:

    :') Thank you for this! My greatest hope in life is that people open not only their eyes but their minds and hearts as well. The wolf is highly respected in my life, and I will try everything I can to educate more people about them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Wolf is a collective spirit known as a pack and they should be allowed to live in their natural state. Who are WE to take away their freedom!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I Am Native American- The Wolf's are Our Brothers and a Fine example of how Family's should be.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the sacred work that you do on behalf of these beautiful creatures...Man continues to spread like a disease across the planet and then dares to point at animals in the wild as a threat to our livelihood and existence. We all serve a purpose on this planet. Man, unlike wolves. kills animals both human and non human, destroy land for the purpose of profit, eat too must meat, leading to all kinds of diseases, pollute the air, declare war against people who have never attacked them etc. If there is a creature to be feared it is certainly the two legged. They kill for power, greed, and prejudice.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I live with five wolves in my house. I have had wolves in my home for most of my adult life. I generally prefer their company to dogs or people I don't know. Yes ...I am Native. I am an artist and musician. The wolves will all sing along in harmony with me. The all stop at exactly the same time like they have some wolf ESP? If you are going to rescue wolves you have to know a few things. You must ever forget you must always remind them you are the alpha. Every day is a new day so every day you must remind them you are boss. That means you always drink and eat first otherwise you could create a contest and run up vet bills. It's not so much food aggression as place in the pecking order. Spay and neuter any aggressive animals. Pair the wolves off in six foot high chainlink fence that comes in direct contact with your house door so no chance of escape. Have a big pen you can let then get exercise in as pairs starting with their dominant pair. Do not put food in the exercise pen. All pairs pens should open out to the exercise pen not the exterior of the pen. Put carabiener clips in the gates. Keep XL crates indoors for bad weather or illness. Never forget that that wolves are too smart for their own good in the human world and no trash can is wolf proof. Mine know how to light the propane stove! They watch and learn just like kids. If you follow these guidelines there is no reason why you can't learn to rescue wolves from abusive human situations. I will write more at another time.

  16. lolapower says:

    Let's hope our commitments to restoring wolf populations will result in them being around for generations to come. They are beautiful animals. Go wolves! Lolamarina

  17. Anonymous says:

    To Anonymous who has the 5 wolves as pets, loved reading your comment,we have one, and she is a delight, smart.....omg! She is very verbal, tries to talk, yes must watch her body language, yes she tries her dominace, but she is such a character. We are 100% in supporting wolves North America wide. Thank you for all you do!

  18. Anna Laura says:

    Very interesting essay. Good job. Keep doing it.

  19. Unknown says:

    I love wolves, and thank you for explaining the myths about them. I have seen them up close but my children may never get the chance. I wish I could help in a wolf rehabilitation center, to get the injured animals back on their paws.

  20. Jerry/ Wolfwarrior says:

    Thank you for writing these truths of these wonderful and beautiful animals.I have the honor of a high percentage wolf-dog being my companion and have had her for 12 years. I love her dearly as does everyone who meets her and I have complete trust in her.She has never done anything to violate that trust.I wish everyone would read this info and learn the truth about these animals and get over all the lies we have grown up with,

  21. Mitzi says:

    Very informative. Loved reading about these beautiful creatures! Thank you

  22. Anonymous says:

    I have felt connected to wolves from an early age. When I saw my first wolf up close at the age of about 4 or 5, I immediately felt a connection. Looking into the eyes of the wolf I felt we understood each other and I felt no fear only peace. I am an elder now and I still feel the connection whenever I encounter one of what I consider to be one of the creators most beautiful creatures.

  23. Kevin Ewing says:

    I have always felt a special connection to wolves and their spirit. They are truly noble creatures.

  24. Unknown says:

    I am writing and performing a speech in my Ag class, and it is about how the wolf massacre is so dumb and not based off of science. I am extremely proud to do my speech on this subject, and I'm tired of hiding in quiet from haters for over two years. I will receive a lot of guff from the wolf murders and "experts" in my class, but I don't care! And I am happy to say that I am getting most of my information from this very website. Thank you so much for the great article! Very much needed! :)

  25. Anonymous says:

    And FYI there has never been a documented case of rabies in wolves.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I saw someone else had the same experience as me with a wolf trying to talk ! I have a female that tries to talk to me . It's not a bark . She tries to make sounds for words . That's how smart they are !

  27. Unknown says:

    Thank you for posting this, the information if read should bring some much need truth to what has been told by ranchers and the trigger happy sports hunters we are now seeing, when people understand, I don't think we will be seeing the mass killing we are today, the Wolf population needs to be put back on the protected species list and kept there, they should have never been taken off it in the first place which is a problem that also needs looking into , too much corruption in polices...

  28. Anonymous says:

    I support your information, common sense approach for co-existence with wolves. I will add my experiences. I was a farmer, my father a farmer, my grandfather a farmer, and we never lost any domestics to wolves. We lived in Minnesota or as some people say: Native Minnesotans as of 1730s' So wolves are part of Minnesota. When farming, we did many things to ensure domestics being safe from predators not just the wolf. We had barns, we had enclosed hog sheds, enclosed steer sheds, enclosed chickens coups, enclosed sheep sheds. We also had large dogs, not just one; however, we had four, stationed near each of the enclosures at night. Day time, we had fencing with barb wire across the top. Inside the fending we had electric fencing. Our pastures were not small and they were wooded. A concoction that was passed down over the generations mixed with cayenne pepper, hot onions, along with very pungent ingredients and we used Crisco lard and mixed it all together and rubbed it down on the dogs, cattle, sheep, hogs, and steers. Not every animal needed it, just enough to make them smell worst then a skunk. The cattle had several bulls and bulls are very territorial and dangerous. Sheep went with the Rams and they huddle. We typically kept them in a smaller pastures and rotated. The hogs had the boars and they had smaller areas to stay. No they were not congested, just more contained and they like being near water and they make their mud wallows. The chickens were kept close to home and contained as well. The predators we had the most problems with were the foxes and coyotes. They are very seedy and we used home built cages with trap doors. Our family did not like steel traps, we believe if you cannot hunt an animal with God Given Brains, then you do not belong out there hunting. Deer was hunted for food not fun. Wolves as pets well; today our farmlands are shrinking, our space is shrinking, so having a wolf as a pet is borrowing trouble. I do not recommend a wolf as a pet, nor do I believe in crossovers as they are also an accident waiting to happen. I canna not say we were not guilty of not having wolves as pets. This however, was back in the 60S' allot of things have changed since then. I do need to let people know my Dad had Joe, a wolf; he was nuked, shots, cooked hamburger, mixed with dog chow. My legacy to JOE is to do for his ancestors as to what he did for us kids, when the worse type of predator came along and kidnapped my sisters classmate and the little guy was found several weeks later in pieces in a garbage bag. Dad ordered mom to take Joe everyday morning and afternoon and pick us kids up. My sister and I believe to this day if it had not been for the high visibility of JOE. The child serial killer would have struck again and again. The neighborhood kids fell in love with JOE. Joe loved it, he was happy around kids. Less receptive of adults, just sat back and watch. When home Joe went to the basement most of the time and we kids went there too. When Dad came home Joe was up under the table by dad. Mom fed him, petted him, and he went with Mom, us everywhere, camping, store, school, and park. Joe passed at twelve years around 1977 or 1978. I today, do not recommend a wolf as a pet. Joe worked for us, because my Dad, my grandfather had always been around them. I do not recommend them as a out cross. Speaking of outcrosses; in the south, I was reading an article about wolves in the wilds crossing with coyotes and making coywolfs that are more dangerous then the wolf.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  30. Caligirl says:

    These beautiful creatures NEED to be protected. They deserve to be here!

  31. Hello I love everything about wolves and I would be glad to help support your website, Actually I was also wondering if the image of the wolf laying upside down could be used as my Avatar on WP (See link in the URL Address), I will credit your site and the photographer(If you give me a name) but I may tweak it a little to fit my Pack number, Name and Credits to you and hosting site into the image if you could get back to me on the Gmail Address below I would be very grateful

    ^_^ Thankyou

  32. The wolf : I am doing as much as I can to increase awareness of this proud , beautiful creatures by posting images and information on Pinterest . Thank you for your website - it is very much needed .

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