Jan 18 2012

#263 Less is More (18)

From a stranger in Long Island, New York

Enjoy a few facts about that alluring and mysterious call of the wolf: the howl.

Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in.

Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls. The International Wolf Center in Minnesota even sponsors “howl nights” on which people can howl in the wilderness and hope for an answering howl.

Wolf howls may be audible to the human ear up to ten miles away in good weather conditions.

While howling, wolves change pitch to achieve harmonic as well as discordant effects.

Since lone wolves have no established territory, they rarely howl.

Nov 10 2011

#194 “Fight For Me”

From Shelley

Every once in a while a piece of artwork comes along that tugs at your heartstrings so violently that you are unsure whether they will ever return to their original state. For me, this fantastic contribution by Shelley is just such a piece. The eyes of the wolf in this picture are truly haunting and serve to effectively pierce the viewer’s soul while the message in the foreground provides a statement that only the hardest of hearts could ignore. What we have here before us represents the pinnacle of both sentiment and artistic aptitude.

It seems that in recent times, the word “pathos” has become a bit distasteful. People have come to associate the term with a devious desire to manipulate another person through the use of illogical emotional appeals. However, even though I believe this illustration is brimming with pathos, I choose to commend rather than condemn this artist. To touch another human’s heart, to make an emotion truly felt by another, to move a stranger to tears… all of these require a unique intellect and a talent that only a small number of blessed souls possess. And in the end, emotional awareness and vulnerability is just as essential to our wellbeing as intellect. We shouldn’t guard our hearts against messages like these, but instead we should open them wide and allow ourselves to experience all that the world has to offer.

Congratulations, Shelley. You have accomplished what many have aimed for but only a select few have achieved. On a related note, if you, the reader of this post, are interested in fighting for the wolf, I suggest you check out Project Alpha Wolf on facebook. PAW advocates wolf education and conservation, and overall provides a great way for you to become involved in a great cause that you can really put your heart into.

Check out PAW here.


May 14 2011

#14 “That Lonesome Lupine Cry”

From Frank and the University of Missouri.

There is perhaps nothing capable of raising the tiny hairs on the back of one’s arms and neck to such a chilling degree as the mysteriously plaintive call of the wolf. For centuries humans have been intrigued by various forms of animal communication. In fact in modern times this study has entered the realm of science where no doubt more mysteries than answers will evolve. But no matter how much or how little definitive information is revealed to us about these various communication techniques, one fact will remain: no cry elicits an emotional response quite like that of the lonesome lupine.

When one examines the work of art featured above (which depicts a somewhat disheveled wolfman crying out towards the moon), a certain question is no doubt raised: If the howl of a wolf is able to invoke such an emotional response from man, then what does it suggest about the emotional condition of the wolf? Is it reasonable to assume that the wail of a wolf indicates a certain degree of cognitive emotion within the creature?

Look at it this way:

Generally, as a result of the typical tone of the wolf cry, the timing of it (usually at night), and the circumstances under which one hears the cry (for most people this would occur during activities like camping or removing themselves from their typically urban or suburban setting), the cry of the wolf is often described with words such as ‘lonely,’ ‘plaintive,’ and ‘mournful.’ But… simply because this is the way that the sound is often described and perceived, does this mean that the cry is actually driven by a gloomy disposition within the wolf? Also, would there be a difference in the emotional quality of the traditional wolf and that of the anthropomorphic wolf? One might suggest that since the anthro wolf is a much more rare breed, and since it is trapped between the human and animal world, its cry would be all the more lonesome.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this matter. Also, thanks again to Frank from the University of Missouri for submitting this fantastic anthropomorphic wolf portrait.

And finally, if you would like to read more information about wolf howls and wolf communication, check out this link.