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Words Elsa j. Sattout

Wolves are worshiped as the spirits of nature and they are renowned for having a strong commitment to their packs. Because of their outstanding leadership abilities and intelligence, they are considered to be the symbol of the spiritual pathfinder by Native Americans. Roaming the wild with an insatiable desire for freedom, their powerful instinct and intuition make them among the strongest mammals in the wild. Many people believe that wolves have a special connection to man’s path in life, as they share the same spiritual essence.

Legends about wolves

From ancient time to the modern era, there have been many legends about wolves as caring animals. They have raised orphans such as Mowgli in The Jungle Book, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and an abandoned child in an old Turkic village nursed by Asena, an old she-wolf. An old Mongolian’s narrative attributes the origin of the central Asian people to Asena, who gave birth to half-wolf half-human pups. In mythology, wolves were associated with guardians of celestial realms, warriors, or the devil. In Ancient Egypt, the wolf represented the god of war (Wepwawet) and was considered to be the “opener of the ways.”  In both the Orient and the West, tales, fables, sayings and movies reflect various faces of “humanized” wolf characters. Examples include Kalila wa Dimna, “Little Red Riding Hood”, The Fables of Jean de la Fontaine, and the famous movies Dances with Wolves, Into the Woods, and the television series Game of Thrones.

Species of wolves

Endangered top-level carnivores, wolves occupy nowadays only about two-thirds of their former range worldwide because of the destruction of their habitat and persecution by herders and villagers. The animal is responsible for forest regeneration, preserving the fittest individuals in deer populations, and indirectly aligning the riverbeds with mountain foothills. The wolf belongs to family of dog-like animals (Canidae) with two main species, the grey wolf (Canis lupus L.) and the red wolf (Canis rufus L.). The Eastern timber wolf (Canis lycaon L.), a third species, is believed to be a subspecies of the grey wolf. Unlike the grey wolf, the world’s most widely distributed mammal, red wolf is one of the rarest canids in the world and it was declared extinct in the wild in 1980. It is listed in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),. Captive breeding programs and reintroduction were initiated in Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s.

They are family-oriented

Wolves live in packs of five to 11 per family on average, led by the alpha male and alpha female. Those monogamous and family-oriented animals, with a high sense of loyalty, tolerance, and interdependence, live bonded strongly with each other. Rudyard Kipling said, “The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.”  Wolves are faithful to their mates for life. Upon the death of one mated wolf, pairs are quickly re-established. Finding unpaired females is an exception, since males often predominate in wolf population. Casanova wolves are males who have been unable to establish their territory or find a mate. So they couple with daughters from other packs without forming pair bonds. Wolves have various ways of communication within and among the packs. Scents on paths and junctions are distributed around every 250 meters to defend their territories. Trailblazers in nature, wolves can travel up to almost 650 kilometers from their pack.

You may be bewitched by the beauty of the wolf’s wild spirit, or by his piercing eyes.  Whatever may be the case, when wolves come along in your life and you have the opportunity to see them, be aware enough to grasp the message that is revealed to you. You should commemorate these moments as milestones in your life.

Maybe the wolf is in love with the moon and each month it cries

for the love it will never reach.

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I guess I’m pretty much of a lone wolf.

I don’t say I don’t like people at all,

but, to tell you the truth, I only like

it then if I have a chance to look deep

into their hearts and their minds.

Bela Lugosi

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We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be

– the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a ref ected image of ourself.”

Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

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