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August 17, 2012

Kind News Feature: Wild About Wolves

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Forget the fairy tale; learn the facts!

Kind News magazine

  • Wolf Fact: Wolves live in family groups called packs. All wolves in a pack help care for the young. Jim Brandenburg/Minden Pictures

  • Wolf Fact: There’s no record of a healthy, wild wolf ever attacking a person in the United States. But old myths and fears, plus competition for land and prey, threaten the survival of this wild canine. Tom & Pat Leeson

Alyssa Grayson, our Kind Kid for 2012, proves that you're never too young to make a difference for animals. Listen in to our chat with this terrific kid.

How did you get interested in saving wolves?

I’ve loved wolves since I saw the movie Balto when I was 2 or 3 years old. Then one day I saw a commercial about aerial hunting. It showed a wolf pup sitting on a rock. ... There was the sound of planes whirring, a gunshot, and the screen faded to black. I remember asking my mother, “Why do they do this?” and she replied, “Because people don’t like wolves.” I decided from then that I wanted to save wolves.

Why are wolves important to our world?

Wolves are an apex predator, which means they are at the top of the food chain. Removing them from the ecosystem is a big mistake. The ecosystem is like a chain of dominoes—with the apex predator as the one in front. If you were to knock down that domino, the rest of the chain would go down too. In the non-domino [animal] world, the same thing happens.

What are the problems facing wolves today?

Wolves are hunted, trapped, and poisoned. Hunters chase wolves for miles in an airplane until the wolves are too exhausted to run anymore. Then they shoot them. The animal doesn’t have a chance to escape.

Animals [are also trapped for their fur] and are left to suffer in the iron jaws of a trap with no food, water, or shelter. Personally, I think the fur looks better on the animal in the wild, where it’s meant to be, than on a human.

People usually think of “the Big Bad Wolf” when they hear about wolves. If they would base their thoughts on facts, not fairy tales, we wouldn’t have people wanting to kill wolves.

Wolf Fact: Wolves communicate in a number of ways. They howl to "talk" to each other over long distances.

You can do it!

Alyssa asks Kind News readers to learn the facts about wolves, then help save them:

  • Start a wolf club. Alyssa started a club at her school when she was in second grade. She had more than 100 members by the end of the school year!
  • Create posters urging people to learn more about wolves and to protect them.
  • Write a blog so you can chat with other wolf lovers and discuss ideas to help them. Read Alyssa’s blog called “Alyssa’s Den” at wolfwatcher.org/connect/alyssas-den-3/.
  • Write or call your legislators asking them to protect wolves.
  • Make items such as wolf-shaped cookies or dog biscuits, or wolf-related paintings, sculptures, photos, or calendars. Then set up a booth to sell them. Donate the money to an organization that works to save wolves.
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