Voyageur Wolf Project Post Incites Irrational Fear and More Wolf Hate

Congratulations to biologist Tom Gable and the rest of the folks at Voyageurs Wolf Project (VWP), they managed to make international news with a Facebook post that plays on people's irrational fears and hatred of wolves. 


On February 9, 2022 VWP posted on the groups Facebook page to their 164,934 followers from around the world that there was a wolf behaving abnormally just south of Voyageurs National Park. They didn't use the report of a wolf as a way to educate their followers on what to do when encountering wolves in the wild instead they wrote the following (my words in red). 

We need to remember that ALL wild animals are individualistic and unpredictable whether or not they are comfortable around people, this wolf isn't an exception.

Nothing about the VWP post makes any sense to the outside observer. It might help the folks at Voyageur Wolf Project get followers and potential donors but it hurts wolves as is evidenced by many of the responses that the news articles born out of that original VWP post has generated (copied below).







What a lot of people don't remember, and wouldn't remember because it wasn't sensationalized like this incident, was the story about a wolf and snowmobiler in the same area of Voyageurs National Park back in 2015. Back then Minnesota's two major local newspapers, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, reported on the wolf. It's interesting to note that this encounter happened in March 2015 just a few months after wolves were placed back on the Endangered Species List following 3 wolf hunting and trapping seasons. There was a wolf population at that time of 2,221. Today that number is 2,696. This is more evidence that this recent encounter has nothing to do with the population having increased since wolves were hunted. Encounters such as this are rare and continue to be rare.

Article Link HERE

Here are notable excerpts from the article on the wolf back in 2015. My notes are in red.


So this encounter is generally the same area as the wolf VWP posted about. This means that wolves in that area are use to seeing snowmobiles. Back in 2015 they rerouted snowmobilers and today they've done no such thing in response to the sighting. At that time they called it puzzling behavior, today it's called EXTREMELY ABNORMAL. 


The 2015 wolf didn't attack anyone and hasn't since so why the urgent warning about the wolf seen in 2022? Why didn't the VWP mention the 2015 incident in their post? Why involve the public in something that really should be handled by the Department of Natural Resources or the park Superintendent?
In 2015 Park Superintendent Mike Ward said "no one who saw the wolf was an expert on the animal" but in 2022 the VWP took the assessment of what was seen from a bunch of people on snowmobiles that aren't wolf biologists. 
Wolf Biologist Dr. David Mech downplayed the incident in 2015. He wasn't concerned and didn't put out any alert about the wolf chasing snowmobiles. The DNR didn't put out any alert. Dr. Mech thinks the wolf is young and inexperienced. Interesting that Tom Gable from VWP acknowledges in the comment section of VWP FB page that the wolf he sent out the alert on may also be young but doesn't use its age to excuse its behavior the way Mech did in 2015. 




In 2015 park officials took action by rerouting the snowmobiles and removing human interaction. In 2022 we get a wolf biologist sending out an alert on social media to the entire world to be wary of this lone wolf  south of the park and we also get people on the internet now thinking Minnesota has rabid wolves.