out Wolves - a history.
By means of hunting
with horses and dogs or trapping in pits, traps and
cages, wolves were completely wiped out in England
by the early 1500s. Scotland killed its last wolf in
the mid-1700s. Most European countries eventually finished
off their wolf populations soon after. A few still live
in eastern Europe, India, Germany, Italy, Spain and
the Middle East. No one knows how many survive in Russia
and China. Most wolves in North America are found in
Alaska and Canada and hunters, from whom most of our
knowledge of this shy creature comes from, say they
are now almost impossible to find...
extreme attitude toward wiping out wolves can
be seen to the fables and legends about the animals
that originated in the Middle Ages and still survive
today. In the Middle Ages, wolves were also thought
to be in league with the forces of evil, many legends
connected the wolf with Satan and the dark powers of
the supernatural world. See the tales area for some
more information on Wolf Tales.
In America, Wolves served as models
for hunting and played a significant role in the religious
lives of the plains tribes and other groups of North
The powerful and courageous wolves were seen as representatives
of important natural forces or spirits.
Images of wolves often appeared in religious ceremonies
and Indian healers included wolf skins in their medicine
bundles, the collections of sacred materials that they
used used for curing illness.
||Other native American
hunters who have known the wolf intimately
are the Eskimos. Today as in the past, groups of
Eskimos share their homeland on the cold northern
tundra with wolf packs, hunting the same prey and
leading the same kind of nomadic life.
Indians of earlier times and the Eskimos of today,
respect the wolf for its skill as a predator. They
also admire the wolf's dedication to the welfare
of its companions, a model of social behaviour for
humans as well as animals.
like Indians, sometimes kill wolves for their skins
or for other specific reasons, but they believe that
they are taking the life of an equal, not slaughtering
Such coexistence between wolves
and humans is possible only when there is no conflict
between their ways of life.
Conflict quickly arises
when humans begin to produce their own food instead
of hunting wild animals and gathering plants. Wolves
have no choice but to continue their way of life, but
now they may find their prey limited except for the
herds of sheep and cattle.
When this happens, their image
in human eyes changes they
are up longer considered admirable and courageous hunters
but dangerous predators to be controlled or exterminated...
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Continue on to Part II of History of Wolves and Humans: