Photographs by Larry Allan
You spot a large, dog-like shadow keeping its distance from you as you walk through a northern forest or across an open tundra. If this forest phantom runs with its tail straight out behind it, you know you have seen a wolf. It might be called a gray wolf, timber wolf, tundra wolf, arctic wolf, or Mexican wolf, but they all belong to the same species -- Canis lupis.
Despite misleading rumors and exaggerations about the fierceness of wolves, there have only been 3 documented attacks by wolves on humans in North America -- none fatal. Protecting wolves from humans is difficult. A wolf's best protection from extinction is its instinctive shyness. But this alone cannot save the species. Humans must do their part to ensure that wolves and their habitats remain unharmed. Only then will some of nature's most fascinating survival specialists continue to play their part in the never-ending cycle of life.