“A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other.”
Cesare Brai’s photo.
also: probably bs
Yup, good call, it’s bullshit.
They literally travel single file so they can walk the path in the snow that the wolf ahead of them (usually mom or dad) already walked down. It’s just to save energy because the snow gets deep. Putting the weaker wolves up front would have the opposite effect because they’d exhaust themselves.
The photo is from a BBC documentary and they actually say outright that the leading wolf is the ‘alpha’ female, (funny how they changed it to a male arbitrarily) which is an outdated term but a lot less inaccurate than the description given by ‘unknown’.
Wolf packs are familial groups lead by a breeding pair and made up of their offspring, so the eldest ARE the ‘alphas’. Wolves have an average lifespan of 8 years outside of captivity, which is nowhere near old enough to become infertile. Breeding age adults that actually breed leave their family group and start their own. That’s why most packs are around 10 members. Mom/dad/mom and dad, and 1-2 litters worth of kids that stick around.
It may seem like a lot of kids for this one breeding female to produce, but the documentary specifies that these are timber wolves from a national park in Canada that specialize in hunting bison. That’s abnormal because bison are so massive and dangerous. But, during the winter, bison are a lot more vulnerable because they can’t run in deep snow and feeding is poor. That makes them a hugely rich food source and the wolves in this park have actually grown larger than average because of it.
My favorite part is the concept that the pack moves as if it’s consciously preparing for an ambush. These are animals that view their world almost entirely through scent. And even if they didn’t, what exactly is going to ambush them? An insurgent group of bison? I assume the person who wrote it was implying the danger of other wolves? Wolves are social animals, and social animals have evolved to diffuse tension when they can to avoid injuries.
Even if wolves regularly battled it out, why would they in this context? This is a national park with so many resources that this one female has successfully mothered 24 kids into adulthood.
Not to mention there isn’t exactly a lot of cover to hide an ambush in.
I really don’t get why people feel the need to romanticize wolves to the degree that they do. They don’t have some sort of complex hierarchy that mimics human political systems, they aren’t running on a class system that judges them based upon their worth to the group, they aren’t guerilla groups traveling in formation and constantly fighting for dominance.
This is just a photo of a really successful mom leading her menagerie of kids through the snow so they can go about their wolfy business. Which is pretty cool even without the GoT style commentary, I think.
Thanks for that!
I’m happy to see this has already be caught and talked about. It was about to drive me nuts on FB as well as here.
Yeahhhh I saw this on facebook yesterday and knew the description was extremely inaccurate. Reblogging for correct info in case others have seen it misconstrued.