|Howling is the glue that keeps the wolf pack together. Each wolf has a characteristic howl that other pack members can recognize. Since wolves travel such vast distances (75 - 100 kilometres a day) the howl facilitates long distance exchange of information.
Wolves are careful about where and when they howl, so as not to advertise their presence to other wolf packs that may threaten their territory rights. Wolves are less hesitant to howl when in their rendez-vous or meeting sites and the other areas they know best as opposed to less secure surroundings.
Wolf pups are not very cautious and will howl at just about anything. Pups are often left at rendez-vous sites for longer periods of time during the late summer. This is why Public Wolf Howls are most successful in August.
Some researchers have analyzed different wolf howls and related the pitches to different characteristics and messages.
Wolf Howls in Algonquin Provincial Park:
A Night You Are Sure to Remember
The Algonquin Park staff organizes a howl event every Thursday evening in August if a wolf pack is located in the area the night before. No one can deny that the busiest night in Algonquin Park is on the eve of the public wolf howl. Up to 1600 wolf enthusiasts will travel to Algonquin Park on these hot August nights from around the world to have the chance to hear a wolf.
Public wolf howls have attracted more than 110,000 visitors to Algonquin Park since they first took place in 1963. The large public turn out at these events is evidence that the wolf remains a significant feature of Canadian wilderness.
Between 1994-2000, the Algonquin Visitor center was receiving an average of 250 calls every Thursday morning to confirm if the event was happening. It takes 20 park staff to pull off a wolf howl.
Park visitors meet at the park's outdoor theatre for an educational slide show presentation and talk about wolves. Then the park staff organizes the car brigade to the location for the howl. On one occasion, they were able to organize 650 vehicles out to the howling site. Without slamming doors and talking reduced to a whisper, the visitors get out of their cars and wait for the wild response to the staff's imitated call. Wolves have responded more than 80% of the time.
The ecotourist benefits of the public wolf howls are significant for increasing awareness of wolf issues. The Algonquin Wolf Advisory Group proposed in December 2000 a full year-round closure on hunting and trapping wolves in four townships bordering Algonquin Park. These four townships were selected due to their proximity and thus implication to the public wolf howl.
Fortunately for the wolves unable to participate in public howl events, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has announced a full hunting and trapping closure in all 39 townships surrounding Algonquin Park.