Sunday, September 28, 2014
Night of the Red Wolves
50 years ago, Red Wolves were native to North Georgia. Unfortunately, people killed them for the sheer "fun" of shooting them. They are harmless animals, shy and they steer clear of human habitations for the most part. No matter, people hunted them to extinction, just as they did the mountain lion and a number of other animals that had lived here for centuries.
About 15 years ago, the forest service tried to reestablish both the mountain lion (called panthers here) and the red wolf. The mountain lion project didn't work very well, to the extent that until just a couple of years ago mountain lions were still listed as extinct in Georgia.
The red wolves did better. The breeding pairs were brought in from Florida and they did well . We still have people who sho0t them, knowing full well that they are protected, just for the hell of it. No one ever accused red wolves of killing stock, or killing pets, or anything else. They primarily hunt small mammals like rabbits, and they scavenge carcasses.
I once came out of my house early in the morning, to sit on the porch as the sun came up and drink a little coffee. There were five red wolves sitting down in the meadow. Three adults and two adolescents. My dogs weren't fussed by them, and they didn't seem to mind the dogs but they minded me and took off.
Tonight I was out on the porch and I heard them way back up in the national forest "singing." They sound like Gray Wolves, only not as "throaty." I know they aren't dangerous, but I went ahead and turned on all the red security lights on the outbuildings and the rest of the red security lights that were not already on around the main house.
It's a strange thing to hear wolves singing. Even in the certain knowledge that they represent no threat, it makes you feel kind of odd. I suppose it's an atavistic throwback to the time when wolves really represented a threat to people, and night was the most dangerous time of all. Must be there in the genes, buried in some quiet recess of the DNA.