Details on wolf killed near Madison
By By Rod Myers
By Rod Myers
Yes, it definitely was a wolf (Canis lupus) that was hit and killed by a motorist on April 3, 2002 in Middleton, Wis., a suburb of Madison. All factors indicate that it was a very healthy wild wolf.
Randy Jarewicz, a mammal expert for Wisconsins DNR Endangered Species Department, helped perform the necropsy on the wolf. He commented, The wolf was a young male. It weighed a very healthy 94 lbs. and had a full stomach of venison, along with deer hair. All factors lead us to believe it was not a human-owned escapee. It had no collar marks and no implanted microchip which owners like to utilize to keep track of the animal in case it escapes.
Jarewicz also explained that the wolf had an average non-fatal load of common parasites which included tapeworms and heartworms. These parasites would most likely be missing if the wolf was once captive because owners would use preventative medicine.
Wisconsin DNR biologists are not sure where the wolf came from, but there have been recent wolf sightings on Madisons west side. One of the sightings was of three wolves chasing a Labrador in a large yard. The three left behind unmistakable 3.5-inch by 4.5-inch pawprints.
Jarewicz explained, There are 70 to 80 wolf packs in Wisconsin, and on average, 50 of those produce pups each year, which adds up to an average of four per pack, equaling 200 new wolves annually. Most of these 200 leave their pack to start a new one or join a different pack in need of bodies.
Its most likely that young wolves on the move head south to avoid unneedy rival packs and certain death in the jaws of wolves.
Rod Myers is a local resident with an interest in nature and the environment. He is a member of the Rockford Amateur Astronomers Club, the Sinnissippi Audubon Society, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers and the Planetary Society.