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Thursday, August 27, 2009


Thanks to Lindsay and to Paul W. for letting me know of BBC reports of a wolf in Scotland. The BBC are carrying reports that Mr McDowell, 38, – who is a manager at the government’s Housing Access department – reported “I was just having a walk alongside the park when I saw a bit of commotion with the younger calves in the field just across from me. I saw something circling the cattle – but at first I thought it was only the farmer's dog or perhaps a fox. But then the larger cattle began charging right down the field after this animal. I think it had been after the calves. It came right through the fence onto the road – the cattle were stamping their feet and roaring around behind the gate. A small blue car came down the road and slowed down – if it hadn’t slowed down it would have hit the animal.

I was about 30 yards away when I realised it wasn’t a fox – and it was way too big for a dog. It was only when I saw the size of it I knew it was a wolf. It was silver with a sort of black dark streak along the back and it had quite a bushy tail".

I will be interested to see how the story develops, but before anyone gets excited I would ask them to remember what transpired earlier this year when people claimed to have seen a bear in Suffolk's notorious Rendlesham Forest. Caveat Lector, dudes.



Retrieverman said...

As far as I know, the only way for wolves to have reached an island on their own is if they follow ice sheets. I don't think Scotland has had an ice sheet that has connected it to any wolf country with a wolf population.

Keep in mind that there are lots of dogs that look like wolves (because some are derived from wolf hybrids).

The Saarloos wolfhond is a GSD or Alsatian dog crossed with wolves and then bred for a more genial temperament and the wolf characteristics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saarlooswolfhond

People do keep these as pets.

There is also a similar breed called the Czechoslovakian wolfdog, and what's more, there is a breeder of these in the Hebrides, who has these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bVjvcURqdc&feature=fvw

One of these dogs is a Tamaskan. Tamaskans have no wolf in them. They are derived from Siberian huskies, GSD/Alsatians, and several sled dog breeds. The resulting litters were then selected for their wolfish appearance.

Some members of the Malamute and husky breeds do look like wolves, as do more than a few GSD/Alsatians.

Those are some more likely possibilities. I see Eastern coyotes all the time, which are quite a bit larger than what people think of when they think of coyotes. I've heard people call them wolves, but they aren't wolves at all. However, they probably do have some wolf ancestry.

Misidentifying canines is a very common thing.

Anonymous said...

What's the betting that this is somebody's dog, a husky mix or similar, which has gotten bored one night and gone out looking for a spot of nocturnal entertainment? The reaction of the cows is completely normal for any dog in a field with cattle; doesn't matter what size the dog the cattle always mob it.

In any case, if the thing keeps up this sort of behaviour the local farmer will likely shoot it, at which point if we're lucky we'll have a body to examine.