Archive for the ‘predators’ Tag

Scientists Find That Evolution Of Dogs Was Spurred By Climate Change   Leave a comment

From Inquisitr August 19, 2015

Dog & Wolf

Nature has been most helpful to scientists aiming to study climate change, and thus, changes to the planet are very well documented. It has long been thought by scientists though that while herbivores adapted to the change in climatic conditions, carnivores did not. The recent findings of a study regarding the evolution of dogs has, however, disabused us of that notion.

On Tuesday, Nature Communications released a study by a group of scientists that analyzed North American wolves and fossils that were as old as 40 million years. It was found that these prehistoric dogs had an evolutionary path that was directly linked to climate change. A lot of the main evolution points of these animals occurred in tandem with major shifts in the climate.

The North America known today is very different from 40 million years ago. Back then, the area was a warm woodland. Canine ancestors living in that North America were small animals and bore more of a resemblance to a mongoose. Native dogs 40 million years ago had forelimbs that were not suited to running and instead relied on ambush methods. After a few million more years, though, the forests thinned and gave way to grasslands as the climate became cooler and drier. Herbivores evolved right along with the times, and long-legged animals like the bison and deer proliferated. The prehistoric dogs also were found to evolve at this time from their smaller counterparts.

Evolution of Dogs

Now that there was enough room to run, and less possibility of springing from dense bushes to trap prey, predators adapted also. Upon examination of the over 32 species of fossils, it was determined that the dog’s elbow joints and forelegs evolved to facilitate long-distance running, offering more support and less flexibility. Their teeth became more durable as well, which is speculated to have made it easier to deal with dry raw hides or perhaps the grit of the high plains mixed in with their meat. The dogs evolved from ambushers to the likes of predators like foxes and coyotes, and eventually into wolves, who use more pursuit then pounce methods. These species are so closely linked in the evolution gene pool that modern day scientists still make surprising discoveries.

Christine Janis, who is a co-author of the study and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, said that this study may have a broader impact than on dogs alone.

“It’s reinforcing the idea that predators may be as directly sensitive to climate and habitat as herbivores.”

Our modern day domesticated dogs do not have the need to hunt for their own food, and thus, it is arguable if our current climate change will have much of an impact on them. However, these human-wrought climate shifts may still lead to a change in the physiology of predators.

In inarguable fact, though, is that the study has proven that climate change has had a dramatic impact on both predators and their prey.

[Photos Courtesy of Discovery News and Mauricio Anton / Brown University]


A travel destination and wildlife encounter without comparison – POLAR PARK, Norway   Leave a comment

POLAR PARK Arctic Wildlife Centre Nasjonalt Rovdyrsenter

Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Centre is situated in Bardu municipality, Troms county, Norway, The park opened on June 18th, 1994 and is home to Norway’s large predators such as bears, wolves, lynx, wolverines and foxes, as well as their prey such as deer, elk, reindeer and musk displayed in their natural habitat. With only 12 enclosures on 114 acres (46 ha), the park has the worlds biggest area per animal ratio.

Polar Park and its animals

more about POLAR PARK

A visit in the wilderness.

Polar Park is more than a traditional zoo. We place great emphasis on animal welfare. We give animals large areas to create an as natural as possible habitat for the animals.

Our main goal is to create a Norwegian wilderness experience, with the beautiful surroundings of Northern Norway’s nature as a setting for your visit to Polar Park.

We recommend three great ways to experience the Polar Park:

1 Join us for the feeding round of the predators. Here you are guaranteed to see the lynx, wolves, wolverines and bears up close. Our guides provide information about the animals during feeding. See here the times for the guided predator feeding.

2 Book a private guided tour. On this guided tour you will be with around to all the predators. Included are also exciting activities as feeding the moose and howl along with Salangsdalen wolf pack. Our guides provide information about the animals during feeding.Should you wish a private guiding here are the prices.

3 You can also walk through the park on your own and experience the animals’ behavior outside of the guided tours. We recommend that you bring binoculars since animals can sometimes be far inside the enclosures to relax. A trip in beautiful surroundings is a great way to see a bit of nature in the area for those who like to walk and look around.

Polar Park offers a wide range of activities to their visitors and is open all-year round.

The big four

The big predators are probably the main attractions. The wolf, wolverine, bear and lynx are the “big four” predators in the Norwegian countryside, and they live wild in the area around the park. Of the bears, the twins Salt and Pepper – one of which is an albino – born in 2009 are perhaps the visitors’ favourites. One pack of wolves has become domesticated and is used to people; another has not, and shies away from human contact.

Animals from the north

The Arctic fox, one of the most endangered species in Norway, can also be viewed right up close. The park is also home to elk, reindeer and red deer, as well as the North American musk ox.

Zoo for everyone

In the summer season, visitors of all ages come to the park and children can come along and watch the park keepers feed the sheep, goats, rabbits and Anton, the Shetland pony. Many families spend the whole day here, alternating between visits to the playground, Anton and the predators. In the winter, you will often have the whole park almost to yourself, so put on your crampons and your warmest clothing and explore the winter landscape.

Longing for a wolf’s kiss?

Animal encounters and wolf kisses

Animal lovers may, of course, go a little further – and get to know the wolves, for example. Small groups of people can approach the wolf pack and get to know them. Wolves communicate with their tongues, so get ready for some wet kisses. You can also join a photo safari, howl with the wolves at night or tag along on a feeding round. Some of the special tours are not suitable for everyone. For example, pregnant women, children and disabled people are not allowed to visit the wolves.

A thorough presentation of the park and its animals are presented here:

The Nature Adventure Park – The World´s Northernmost Wildlife Park

Since I am a wolflover it’s this part of the park’s offers that intrigue me mostly. Polar Park has three wolfpacks – Salangsflokken, the “Wild Pack” and the “2010 Pack”. These three packs live in separate enclosures.


Salangsflokken consists of three wolves, one male and two females. They are called Steinulv, Luna and Ylva, and were all three born May 10, 2008. These are offspring of the alpha pair in the Wild pack, Nanok and Gaida.

Salangsflokken is the first wolf pack in North Norway that is socialized to humans.

You have the opportunity to meet the wolves personally on the inside of the enclosure at WolfVisit.

The Wild Pack

This pack consists of only two wolves, the Alfa couple Nanok (born 2000 in Polar Park) and Gaida (born 2004 in Riga, Latvia). Although these wolves are born in captivity, they are not socialized and are wary of humans in nature.

The best time to see these two are the feeding rounds or through a special guided tours where they come from forest in their major area of ​​the enclosure to get snacks from our guides.

Usually the 2 alpha wolves remain happily for themselves deeper in the enclosure and can be hard to spot.

If you are patient though and use good time to go around made ​​the hedge, it is still a good chance that you will spot them.

The 2010 Pack

This pack consists of two wolves, one male named Silmo, and a female named Ilya. These are also the offspring of the alpha pair Nanok and Gaida. Like Salangsflokken these two are socialized and comfortable in our company. Silmo and Ilja are in the same enclosure as the Bears Salt and Pepper.

The wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest member of the dog family. It is a social species, that live in pairs or packs claiming territories.

In Norway we find wolves mainly in the southeastern part of the country near the border to Sweden. However, individual animals roam very far and can in principle appear anywhere in the country.

In the rest of the world we find wolves in wilderness areas in Europe, Asia and North America.

The species status is listed as critically endangered on the Norwegian Red List of species 2010.


An adult female wolf in Scandinavia weighs on average slightly over 30 kg and 50 kg male. The tail is relatively straight and are often down. In winter, the color of the coat is usually gray or greyish yellow, while the summer shifts to more greyish yellow and reddish brown.

Unlike dogs a wolf’s head is strikingly massive and the body seems narrower and more lofty.

Moose on the menue

The wolf is a specialist in hunting down and capturing larger prey, e.g. moose. In Norway moose is more than 95 percent of the diet of wolves and a pack alone can take more than 100 moose per year on average.

Other prey are also on the menu. In areas of red deer can they represent a large part of the diet. Wolves also eat small game, such as beaver, badger, hare and grouse, and small rodents. Also sheep, where available.

Life in packs

The wolf is a social animal, living in separate territories. There is little overlap between territories, indicated by scent of urine, excrements and pawprints.

The Wolves´ territories in Norway are approximately 500 to 2,000 square kilometers, and the packs that live here can consist from three to about ten individuals who are related.

The wolves are sexually mature the second winter of their life, when they approach the age of two. In Norway it is usually only the alpha couple getting puppies. Mating takes place from February to March and pups are born in late April-May, about 63 days later.

Can wander far

Young wolves usually leave the pack when they are one to two years old, most often in the spring, early summer or fall. They can wander very far from the territory where they were born, and can in principle appear anywhere in Norway.

Radiocollaring of a female born in Hedmark showed that she traveled 1,100 kilometers within one year. It is also known that a Finnish female moved 800 kilometers in a month.


Scientific name: Canis lupus

Spreading: taiga and tundra area in the northern hemisphere north of ca. 20 degrees

Appearance: The Norwegian wolf has yellow-gray, often speckled gray back with black guard hairs over the shoulders and tail tip. The belly is light and long legs light gray.

Length: Body length (without tail) up to 150 cm, tail length approx. 50 cm

Weight: Males on average 50 kg, females averaging 30 kg

Biology: 4-6 puppies, females can get puppies at the least 11 years old

Food: Most importantly, moose, but also deer and other mammals, e.g. badgers, beavers, hares, rodents and birds. Sheep, when available.

Age: Up to 10 years of age. In Polar Park up to 20 years.

Population Status


So far 40-56 wolves are observed in Norway. Of these 24-35 wolves are only living in Norway. The others llive on the Swedish-Norwegian border.

The winter of 2012-2013 recorded about 30 wolves located only in Norway, compared to 28 to 32 wolves in the winter before.

Wolf front paw

Polar Park WolfVisit – WolfSponsor – HowlNight


WolfVisit was established to ensure better welfare of wolves in captivity, knowledge increase, and to offer you a unique wilderness experience.

Wolves are genetically afraid of humans. Therefore, non-socialized wolves in captivity are afraid of humans, and live under stressful conditions.

The wolves at WolfVisit are socialized, and accustomed to associate with humans at close range. These wolves are just like other wolves, except from one thing: They don’t fear humans, and enjoy our company as a part of their natural environment.

We give you the unique opportunity to meet the wolves in Polar Park inside the enclosure! Our team will be with you all the time and tell you everything you want to know about the wolf. Meet this mystical animal, and discover the actual truth about wolves together with us at WolfVisit!

You must at least 18 years old, dressed for the occasion, be in good physical shape and be able to follow instructions from the animal keeper to enter the wolf enclosure. Polar Park’s main concern is safety, for both visitors and animals.

It is possible to visit the wolves all year round. We recommend the winterseason, when the park is covered by snow. The wolves are most active in the winter, especially in mating time from february to april.

Summerseason: See here times for WolfVisit

You kan make a reservation for WolfVisit all year round. Call us at +47 77 18 66 30 or send an e-mail:

Se here prices for WolfVisit.

Wolftrack Photo: Mogens Totsås, Statens naturoppsyn. Rovdata

Howl Night

ONLY for pre-booked groups of 10 people or more:

Book at least 3 days in advance.

Join us and get a unique and fantastic experience after closing time!

Bring your family, friends, or your company and experience a visit inside the wolf enclosure after closing time!

Howl Night includes:

– A meeting with the wolves inside the enclosure

– Howling together with the wolves

This photo was taken by Peter Rosén in January 2014

You can book Howl Night any time of the year. We especially recommend this event in the wintertime when the moon lights up the snow and the wolves sparkling eyes, we guarantee that this will be an experience you’ll never forget!

Challenge yourself and join Howl Night, together with our WolfVisit team.

You can book HowlNight all year long, under the mystical arctic winterllight or on a beautiful, light midsummernight, though you should do at least 3 days in advance, Call us at +47 77 18 66 30 or send a e-mail:

See the price for HowlNight here

Read more about our events here

ROAM, ROAM ON THE RANGE   Leave a comment

From onEarth by Alisa Opar

This Montana cattle ranch is trying to ensure its operations benefit wildlife—and yes, that means wolves, too.


On a cool, sunny May morning, Hilary Zaranek set out on horseback from her log house in southwestern Montana with one thing on her mind: wolves.

Zaranek lives in the Centennial Valley, an immense expanse of grass- and wetlands ringed by the ragged peaks of the Centennial and Gravelly mountain ranges. The handful of people, mostly ranchers, who call this place home are vastly outnumbered by animals. Trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes are among the more than 260 bird species that inhabit the sweeping landscape, along with river otters, deer, elk, and, of course, loads of cattle. As grizzly and gray wolf populations have recovered in Yellowstone National Park (about 20 miles away), predators have been joining the ranks in increasing numbers, too.

Cattle ranchers have traditionally been hostile to large carnivores; wolves were nearly hunted, trapped, and poisoned to extinction in the Lower 48 a few decades ago, due in part to the threat they posed to livestock. Zaranek, who has done wolf research in Yellowstone and Canada and now works for the Centennial Valley Association, is trying to ease that relationship. She is testing whether range riders on horseback and ATV can minimize conflicts between livestock and predators.

Zaranek and two other riders she oversees are looking out for cattle from a half-dozen ranches in the area, including the J Bar L, a 30,000-acre operation where her husband works.

These cowboys, who all happen to be women, are just one of the ways J Bar L is trying to manage its grass-fed beef operation to benefit livestock, people, wildlife, and habitat. To figure out how best to do that, the ranch works with numerous partners, including NRDC (disclosure), the Nature Conservancy, and the Sage Grouse Initiative. Scientists are studying, for instance, whether structures that mimic beaver dams, installed to rehabilitate stream channels, may benefit Arctic grayling, a rare native fish that sports flamboyant, turquoise-spotted dorsal fins. And on two greater sage grouse leks, biologists are investigating what factors enable populations of these iconic—and possibly soon-to-be-endangered—birds to nest successfully.

But the ranch’s primary focus is moving the herd along in a way that mimics how bison once roamed: regularly rotating grazing to allow pastures to recover for months or even years between munching sessions, and ensuring the animals don’t cause lasting harm to sensitive areas, like springs and leks. As the herd chomps along, the ranchers put up portable, wildlife-friendly electric fences to keep them from wandering.

“People are willing to pay a premium for sustainably raised beef,” says J Bar L Ranch general manager Bryan Ulring. Last year, through Yellowstone Grassfed Beef, the ranch sold about 145,000 pounds of meat (or roughly 600,000 servings) to consumers across the country.


Despite the throwback to bison behavior, this is a thoroughly modern approach. Ranchers have traditionally turned out their cattle to graze largely unattended. But with predators rebounding, J Bar L and other operations in the Centennial Valley and Tom Miner Basin are taking a different tack, relying on Zaranek and the other range riders to patrol herds and keep an eye out for sick, injured, and dead animals. They also gather and settle cattle in the evening, part of an ongoing effort to rekindle the herd instinct. The mere presence of humans acts as a deterrent against attacks, Zaranek says.

Animals go missing from ranches for a slew of reasons, including predation, poisonous plants, lightning (yes, really), and brisket disease, which can cause heart failure in cows at high altitudes. The riders help get to the bottom of what’s causing deaths and disappearances out on the range because, as Zaranek says, “You can’t make good management decisions based on myth.”

That’s why she was out early that May morning, scouting for predator activity in the days before thousands of cattle would arrive for the summer. Grizzlies, of which five or six roam the valley, killed one calf last summer, as well as an adult cow—no small feat considering the bear likely weighed half as much as the 1,400 pound ungulate. This time, Zaranek saw evidence of wolves. “I found a really great hot spot,” she says while we sit at her kitchen table the day after the recon mission. “There were tons of tracks.” She says it looks like there may be three packs carving out territory in the valley this year, up from two in 2014.

Wolf pups in Yellowstone National Park


Wolf pups in Yellowstone National Park


Last year, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana were home to an estimated 1,657 wolves in 263 packs with a total of 75 breeding pairs, according to the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Program. The canids were confirmed as the killers of 140 cattle, 172 sheep, 4 dogs, a horse, and a donkey. Private and state agencies shelled out almost $275,000 in compensation for wolves damaging livestock. Wolves died, too, of course—ranchers and wildlife managers culled 161 of them for coming into conflict with livestock or other wildlife.

Rekindling the herd instinct is key to protecting cattle from wolf and grizzly attacks, says J Bar L Ranch general manager Ulring. He points to how the range riders encourage cattle to move as a herd and stick together, rather than run and scatter, when carnivores draw near—the old safety-in-numbers approach employed by animals ranging from bison to walruses to fish. Since J Bar L first started using range riders a few years ago, it hasn’t lost a single animal to predation when herds stay intact.

“Even last year, when we had cattle right by an active wolf den, we didn’t lose any,” says Ulring. “Cattle or wolves.” They used electric fencing to keep the herd tight and the wolves outside the perimeter.

“This is not just about dead animals,” says Ulring. “A stressed animal has minimal weight gain or can even lose weight. Our animals, even when they were near that den, they’re gaining more than three pounds a day.” All that extra poundage translates into dollars, allowing the ranch to sell more steaks and burgers.

“These techniques are proactive rather than reactive, so they prevent conflicts from happening in the first place,” says Zack Strong, a wildlife advocate with NRDC. Along with conservation strategies, NRDC helps J Bar L and other ranches purchase equipment and hire range riders (and even lends a hand with the electric fencing).

The approach may very well be a selling point, too. John Marzluff, a University of Washington biologist, is launching a statewide poll to gauge whether people would pay more for predator-friendly beef. “We’re also working with some stores to test-market it,” he told MotherBoard.


Researcher Azzurra Valerio of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University says she isn’t surprised to hear of the program’s success. Ranchers taking similar steps elsewhere in the West report fewer losses, too: the Blackfoot Challenge, in northwestern Montana, for instance, has seen a 93 percent drop in grizzly bear conflicts since it started using range riders and other deterrents in 2003. But Valerio cautions that although there are a lot of stories and anecdotes of livestock and predator harmony, “to my knowledge, there are no evaluations of the efficacy of nonlethal methods such as range riders or fences.” She hopes to change that.

Valerio is in the second year of a three-year study that aims to collect hard data; she’s got collars on six wolf packs, eight cattle herds, and one sheep operation, and is working with four range riders and three sheepherders. Valerio is looking at the number of livestock killed and the indirect influences wolves may have on a flock, such as weight loss and reproductive rates. Her findings, however, won’t be in for a few years.

Zaranek, too, speaks cautiously about the effort. “There’s a lot of potential,” but it’s still very new, she says. Rather than basing success on the number of cattle killed—or not—by predators, Zaranek uses another metric: the number of ranchers who say yes and stick with it. It won’t matter whether the measures work if nobody is willing to take a chance. So far, no one has dropped out.


Grizzly bear squares off against four hungry wolves [video]   Leave a comment

By Holy Kaw July 7, 2015

Holy Kaw - Josh 's co

Photo credit: Canva

When food is scarce, animals that would normally avoid each other come into conflict for resources. This Grizzly, for example, took on four wolves in order to get a bite to eat.

Få landsbygdsbor upplever problem med rovdjur   Leave a comment


I regeringens proposition om en ”hållbar rovdjurspolitik” framställs minimala rovdjursstammar och jakt på tusentals rovdjur som en lösning på landsbygdens negativa utveckling. Men faktum är att rovdjur är ett förhållandevis litet bekymmer för människor på landsbygden. Det visar en Sifo-undersökning som Svenska Rovdjursföreningen beställt. Endast sex procent av landsbygdsborna uppgav att rovdjur påverkade deras vardag negativt.

Svenska Rovdjursföreningen har via Sifo frågat människor boende på landsbygden om vilka faktorer som påverkar deras vardag mest negativt. Åtta olika alternativ presenterades och det gick att kryssa i flera av dem. Störst var missnöjet med kollektivtrafiken och mobil/bredbandstäckningen, som listades som negativa faktorer av 39 respektive 38 procent av de tillfrågade. Förekomst av rovdjur var det minsta bekymret. Endast sex procent uppgav förekomst av björn, järv, lo eller varg som en negativ faktor.

–  Att alla människor på landsbygden skulle lida svårt av rovdjuren är en myt som sprids av jägarkåren, säger Ann Dahlerus, generalsekreterare i Svenska Rovdjursföreningen. De politiker som låter rovdjursfrågan skymma sikten för landsbygdens verkliga utmaningar gör majoriteten av sina väljare en stor otjänst.

Dubbelt så många män som kvinnor upplever att de blir negativt påverkade av rovdjur. Lågutbildade anser sig vara mer negativt påverkade än snittet. Äldre påverkas mer än yngre.

– I landets mest glesbefolkade områden är det främst äldre män med låg utbildning som bor kvar. Där skyller man ofta avfolkningen på varg men det finns inget som helst stöd i statistiken för att den negativa utvecklingen beror på vargen. Flyttlassen började rulla från glesbygden långt innan vargen
etablerade sig där.

Sverigedemokrater, 12 procent, är de som anser sig påverkas mest negativt av rovdjur, medan endast 1 procent av vänsterpartisterna anser att rovdjur är ett problem. I övrigt är skillnaden mellan partierna liten, mellan 3 och 8 procent.

– Det är förhållandesvis få som någonsin sett en varg och forskning visar att det som påverkar människors mest är vad andra tycker, även om de inte heller har någon egen erfarenhet av varg. Stämningen på orten där man bor spelar alltså en stor roll för hur man upplever förekomsten av rovdjur, säger Ann Dahlerus.

För frågor:
Ann Dahlerus, generalsekreterare
08-441 41 17
0768-500 653

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Posted 1 October, 2013 by Wolf is my Soul in Wildlife / Vilda djur, Wolves / Vargar

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