a childhood saved

A Naturalist's Notebook

When I was 14-15 years old, I wrote a series of 23 essays as a weekly assignment for my high school English class. I called the series "A Naturalist's Notebook." Naturalist's Notebook Table of Contents

Timber Wolves: January 10, 1974

The timber wolf is a very interesting mammal. It is one of the most misunderstood, persecuted animals in the world. Many people believe that the timber wolf is the cause of many human deaths, destroys herds of caribou, and leads an antisocial life.

Fact: there is only one recorded case of a wolf attacking a man, and that time, the wolf was rabid.

Fact: the wolf only kills the weak or injured caribou, thus improving their herds.

Fact: wolves are one of our most social animals, showing affection for each other and their children.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a live wolf, Clem, with the Saw Mill River Audubon Society. Clem, and another wolf Jethro, have traveled all over the U.S. and Canada, and have appeared on television.

This summer, they were poisoned by an old woman. Two new wolves, Rocky and Mariah, are now traveling with a movie, "Death of a Legend," which Clem and Jethro [used to travel with].

The wolves stay in family packs, and in springtime they go to their dens. Pups are born, small pug-nosed, big-footed balls of fur. They grow rapidly. Parents and even other "outsiders" take their turns in feeding the pups.

During winter months, wolves has as much trouble finding food as any other animal. Sometimes, they have more trouble, as they improve their prey by removing those that are sickly. Deer, caribou, small mammals fall prey to the winter wolves. During the summer, their diet consists mostly of mice.

The timber wolf is an oversized gray dog with huge feet. Grayish eyes add to an overall frosted appearance. Clem, the one I saw, was a real stereotype "old dog," although he was very young. When he came on stage, he immediately lay down and started snoring away! If it wasn't for his size and color, I would never be able to tell him from my dog.

To sum it up, the timber wolf is a nice critter to be around. He makes pleasant company, and is very interesting to watch.

Next: "Snakes" January 16, 1974