"Our results suggest the social relationship can explain more of the variation we see in howling behavior than the emotional state of the wolf," Friederike Range, lead author of a study published in the journal Current Biology, said in releasing the report.

 In other words, the wolves howled the most when they had a special relationship with the missing member of the pack. The level of anxiety caused by the separation, as determined by measurements of the stress hormone cortisol in the wolves' saliva, had virtually no effect on the howling. That indicates it was friendship, not anxiety, that caused the ruckus. However, a wolf with high social standing also earned a robust vocalization from the pack.

In a wolf documentary the female from the breeding pair died, and the following nights the filmers recorded the most heartbreaking howls ever. The documentary talked about how they recognized the sound of grief in the howls and on how wolves grief.

Another example: from all the wolves who died in the Sawtooth pack, it’s described how the other pack members reacted. Some quotes:

“The pack members showed avoidance of the death scene and exhibited unusually low energy with atypical howls”

It takes about six weeks for the pack to return to normal after a lost of a beloved member.

“Amani appeared as shocked as we who found Matsi. Subsequent behavior from Amani showed that he probably did not detect Matsi’s death coming”

Also in the documentary on the Sawtooth pack called ‘Living with wolves’, you see how the death of a pack mate clearly affects the whole pack. You see the grief and their mourning rituals after their omega (!) femalewolf Motaki was killed by a cougar. They lost their spirit and their playfulness, they no longer howled as a group, but rather “sang alone in a slow mournful cry.” They were depressed — tails and heads held low and walking softly and slowly — when they came upon the place where Motaki was killed. They inspected the area and pinned their ears back and dropped their tails, a gesture that usually means submission. It took about six weeks for the pack to return to normal.

Photographer who took this picture writes on his website : " The howling, I soon found out was because they had found their missing pack mate... shot by an idiot, most likely. They let me sit and take pictures, they did not seem to care, they were busy mourning their dead. Man, I love wolves."

Another story: a wolf pack in Canada in which one pack member died and the others wandered about in a figure eight as if searching for her. They also howled long and mournfully

So please, be kind to the animals in your life and be sure to give your four-legged friend an extra hug and kiss today.

Mourning an Alpha Female: Wolf “06″, the alpha female of the Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon Pack has been shot in Wyoming by a hunter. Alpha male was depressed from this lost

Responses to "Heartbreaking moment when a pack of wolves mourn the loss of a member."

  1. That first shot is fantastic. Damned shame to think what led to it.

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