Wolf Den, © USFWSWolf, © Sandy SistiThat Wolf IS Looking at You! Japanese researchers released a study this month showing that gray wolves use their eyes to communicate with each other. The team of scientists examined the eyes of over 20 different types of canid species – including wolves, foxes, dogs –   concluding that those animals with the most visible eyes are also the most social animals. The researchers identified three different categories of eyes for these canid species: A, B and C. With lighter irises than pupils and facial markings that emphasize eye placement, type A eyes are much easier to locate at first glance. Type B and C eyes are more camouflaged on the animals’ bodies. Gray wolves fall into type A – highly visible eyes. It turns out that the animals that have type A eyes are also the species likely to live in packs and hunt as part of a group. While this research proves that there is a correlation between “gazing” and the sociability of wolves, there is still much to be learned about how gazing affects wolves’ behavior.
Mexican gray wolf and pup, © Joel Sartore
Captive Mexican gray wolf and pup (©Joel Sartore)

How Cute Are They!? A Friday Afternoon “Pick Me Up.” Arizona Game and Fish Department posted an adorable clip of Mexican gray wolves this week that we just had to share! AGFD’s wildlife biologists use trail cameras to study the movement and patterns of wildlife. This week the cameras captured a particularly sweet segment of  Mexican gray wolf pups chasing after their mother. Go to ADFD’s Facebook page to check it out!

What Does the Science Say? Mountain Lions and Wolves: It’s been long suspected but biologists have now confirmed that mountain lions avoid core wolf pack range indicating that wolves, when in packs, are a more dominant predator on the landscape than cougars.
Mountain Lion, © Larry Moats/USFWS
Moutain lions, like this one, call the Coronado National Forest home.

As wolf populations recolonize the landscape it is likely to lead to shifts in the habitat used by cougars however individual wolves are killed by cougar as well.See study for details: Home range characteristics of a subordinate predator: selection for refugia or hunt opportunity?  Similarly, coyotes, which significantly increased in number and range when wolves were eradicated from the landscape, are frequently killed by re-established wolves and appear to avoid core wolf pack range as well.