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Re-Introduction of Wolves into Maine

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Reentering the eastern timber wolf into northern Maine.

Before the 20th century the eastern timber wolf lived and thrived in northern and central Maine. A combination of hunting and trapping however killed off most of the indigenous wolves and drove the rest into Canada.

The eastern timber wolf stands between 26”- 36” tall, and weighs between 65- 85 pounds for a female and 80- 95 pounds for a male. They stretch from between 5- 6.5 feet from nose to tale. The eastern timber wolf travels in packs of 2-8. The pack consists of the breeding male and female and their offspring it may also have subordinate adult wolves that recognize the breeding male’s leadership. Only the dominant male and female breed, the female has a litter of between 4-7 pups. A wolf pack has a territory that can be as big as 1,000 square miles, although it is generally less than this.

Many people feel that since it was humans that drove the wolves away from the state of Maine it is our ethical duty to bring them back and see that they survive. I am now going to go over some of the pros and con’s of reintroducing the eastern timber wolf back into Maine.

With the wolves gone in Maine there was a predator vacuum created. This means that there was an over abundance of the animals the wolves used to prey upon. This in turn led to the increased number of coyotes.

The eastern coyote is much larger then their western cousins and have a more powerful jaw for taking bigger game. They fit into the niche of the wolf perfectly. They have adapted until they can do just about anything a wolf could do; they are starting to travel in packs and are growing larger each generation. The eastern coyote is so well established in Maine and it is so closely related to the eastern timber wolf that if you wanted to reintroduce the wolf you would first have to greatly decrease the number of coyote.

Most people say that if you reintroduce the wolf to Maine, big game hunting would have to be stopped. This is untrue. As long as the deer and moose population neither grows nor decreases hunting is doing its job. Wolves don’t have any great effect on the population of their prey. They take only sick and old animals and very rarely do they take an animal that has a likelihood of breeding. Estimated

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