Alpha - The top rank in the social
order of the wolf pack. Since a separate social hierarchy exists
for males and females, a pack has both an alpha male and an alpha
female. They are usually the parents of most of the other members
of the pack.
Beta - The second rank in the
social order of a wolf pack. Since separate social hierarchies operate
for males and females, a pack may have both a beta male and a beta
female. A wolf at this rank will usually dominate all of the other
wolves in its gender except the alpha wolf.
Biodiversity - The variety, complexity
and relative abundance of species (plant and animal) present and
interacting in an ecosystem.
Bounty - A monetary reward system.
Federal and state governments have used bounties as part of their
predator control programs to encourage people to killed wolves.
Canid - A member of the taxonomic
family Canidae, which in North America includes wolves, coyotes,
foxes and domestic dogs.
Carnivore - An animal that eats
Color Phase - The color of an
animal's pelage (fur), which is determined by genetics and may vary
within a population. White, gray and black color phases may be seen
within the same gray wolf population. In the Great Lakes Region,
about 98 percent of the gray wolf population exhibits the gray phase,
with the occasional occurrence of white or black phases. The predominant
color phase within a population often corresponds to the overall
color of its environment. For example, the white color phase is
predominant in arctic regions. The word "phase" does not imply that
a wolf changes color.
Den - A shelter, often a small
cave or hole dug out of the ground, to protect the breeding female
and her young pups from weather and other animals.
Depredation - The act of an animal
capturing and eating other animals. This term is primarily used
when referring to situations involving wolves or other carnivores
killing or maiming domestic animals, such as livestock.
Dispersal - The act of an organism
leaving its birth-place and moving to where it will live as an adult.
Dispersal in wolves, usually involves a young, sexually maturing
wolf leaving the pack, perhaps due to rivalry with other members
of the pack, intense bonds formed with an individual wolf from outside
of the pack or lack of sufficient resources within the pack's territory
to support the number of wolves present.
Domesticated - Referring to species
which have descended from wild ancestors but have been tamed, kept
in captivity and bred over many generations for human purposes.
They are usually dependent upon humans for their survival.
Dominant - Having power, control
and privilege over others within a social hierarchy.
Ecosystem - A more or less discrete
system or community formed by the interaction of living organisms
with each other and with the physical factors found in their environment.
Encroachment - The physical occupation
of space or habitat which was previously occupied by another species,
resulting in displacement of this species or destruction of the
species, if no alternative space or habitat is available.
Endangered - Referring to a species
(plant or animal) currently in danger of extinction.
Endangered Species Act - A congressional
act (16 U. S. C. 1531 et. seq.) passed in 1973 and amended through
the years that provides for the identification and protection of
species (plants and animals) currently in danger of extinction or
threatened by extinction within the foreseeable future.
Exterminate - To get rid of by
destroying or killing.
Extinct - No longer in existence.
Once a species is extinct, all individuals within this species have
forever vanished from the planet.
Extirpate - To destroy or eliminate
a species (plant or animal) from an entire area within its range,
but not from the entire planet.
Feast-or-Famine Diet - The behavior
of eating a great deal of food in a short time and then not eating
for an extended period. A single wolf has been known to eat up to
22 pounds of meat at one time. The wolf then rests while this food
digests. It may be several days or several weeks before the wolf
gets another significant amount of food.
Federal Register - A periodical
published by the United States Government which advertizes actions
or proposed actions by federal agencies. The Federal Register is
availabe at all major libraries and federal offices. It is the federal
government's primary means of releasing information to the public.
Gestation Period - Pregnancy -
The period between fertilization and birth. For a wolf this period
is 62 - 63 days.
Western Great Lakes area - The
area in the United States south and west of the Great Lakes - especially
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Habitat - The natural environment
of a species (plant or animal) that provides the food, water, shelter
or cover and space required for it to survive.
Habitat Destruction - The act
of destroying an entire habitat or any significant part within the
Hybrid - The offspring resulting
from reproduction between two closely related species (e.g., a domestic
dog and a wolf).
Litter - All of the pups born
during a single birth to an adult female wolf.
Livestock - Animals that are domesticated,
such as cattle, sheep, horses and mules that are raised on a farm
Longevity - Length of time an
Management - The act of providing
direction for the use, control, enhancement or protection of a species
(plant or animal) or its habitat.
Mortality Rate- The relative frequency
of deaths in a population.
Omega - The lowest ranking member
in the social order of a wolf pack.
Pack - A group of wolves that
live and work together to hunt for food and take care of the pups.
It usually consists of a male and female parent and their offspring
from one or more generations.
Pelage - The entire coat of hair
or fur, including the soft, furry undercoat as well as the coarse
guard hairs, on a mammal.
Persecution - Harassment or cruel
Poaching - Illegal taking of wildlife.
Predation - The act of an animal
capturing and eating other animals.
Predator - An animal that captures
and eats other animals.
Prey - An animal that is captured
and eaten by another animal.
Range - The geographic area over
which an entire species is distributed. This range is usually determined
by the available habitat needed by a species to survive, thus range
can change as the available habitat is altered or destroyed.
Recolonization - The natural restoration
of a population to an area within its original range.
Recovery - The natural or assisted
restoration of a population to specified levels for minimum number
of consecutive years to a designated area within its original range.
Reintroduction - The act of bringing
individuals of a certain species (plant or animal) back into a designated
area within the species' original range, but from which it was extirpated
or nearly eliminated. The purpose of reintroduction is to establish
a new population in the wild.
Rendezvous Site - An above ground
area, usually open and near water, where pups are taken when they
are old enough to leave the birth den. The wolves gather there to
sleep, play and eat. Wolves may move from one rendezvous site to
the next until the pups are old enough to accompany the adults on
their hunts and travels.
Scat - Fecal matter or feces.
Scent-marking - The act of marking
an area with body odor, scent from a gland, or urine or scat. This
technique is used by wolves to communicate with other wolves and
animals. For example, scent marks tell other wolves the locations
of a pack's boundaries.
Subordinate - Lower ranking in
power, control and privilege.
Telemetry - The use of electronic
equipment to locate a distant source. Researchers use telemetry
equipment, such as receivers and antennae, to locate signals emitted
from radio collars worn by wolves in their study groups.
Territory - An area occupied by
a pack of wolves that can provide sufficient prey to support the
pack. It is defended against wolves from outside of the pack and
from other animals that might compete for the same resources. Wolves
protect their territory by scent-marking, vocal communication and
Threatened - Referring to a species
(plant or animal) that could become endangered in the foreseeable
Translocate - To move animals
from one area to another.
Transplant - To translocate.
Ungulate - A hoofed mammal, such
as deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, caribou
Viable Population - A self-supporting
population with sufficient numbers and genetic variety among healthy
individuals and breeding pairs that are well enough distributed
to ensure that the species will not become threatened, endangered
or extinct in the foreseeable future.