The Western Wolves

We are the Wolves, really

We are students of Western Oregon University. Since our school color is red, I thought about using some kind of red back ground for this page. However, after several tries, I just cannot find the right "red."

My wolf story is based on information from Wikipedia.

To know more about me, please visit my page.

Mackenzie Valley Wolf

The Mackenzie Valley Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) also known as the Rocky Mountain Wolf, Alaskan Timber Wolf or Canadian Timber Wolf is perhaps the largest subspecies of Gray Wolf in North America. Its range includes all of Western Canada as well as the entire state of Alaska. It is estimated that there are between thirty and forty thousand Mackenzie Valley wolves roaming this territory.

Current status and history

The Mackenzie Valley Wolf was the subspecies used in the Yellowstone reintroduction effort, where it has become a successful apex predator much like it is in its vast northern range. In Yellowstone, it has been crucial in restoring environmental balance in that it has clamped down on the less fit members of the herds on which it feeds, thereby keeping large ungulate numbers in check and allowing certain floral and faunal species to recover, promoting biodiversity.
Wolf hunting is legal in most parts of the Mackenzie Valley Wolf's range, but it is limited, so impact is kept to a minimum. The best reason this subspecies has been so successful despite human dispersal is that, because of its vast and northern range, it has tended to come into less contact with humans than some of its fellow subspecies.


Males of the subspecies typically weigh between 45 and 80 kg (100-176 lb), with females weighing 10-20% less. Specimens over 70kg are rare. An uncomfirmed specimen of 105kg (230lbs) has been mentioned in the Guinness book of Animal World Records, with the confirmed wild record being 80kg (176lb).

The Mackenzie Valley Wolf measures 81-102cm (32-40 inches) tall at the shoulders and has a length (including head and tail) between 1.5 and 2.1 meters (~5-7 feet).

The Mackenzie Valley Wolf has a specialized body that has made it one of the world's most efficient hunters. Its thick, long limbs are proportionally built for traversing through rough terrain such as deep snow or the cliffy edges of the Rocky Mountains. Its deep chest hosts large lungs, letting the wolf breathe more efficiently at higher altitudes, and allowing it to exert huge amounts of stamina traveling up to 115km (~70 miles) in one day. Its powerful neck is a very important adaptation: it has to be strong to support the wolf's large head and is crucial for bringing down prey. The Mackenzie Valley Wolf maximizes heat retention through such methods as using its bushy tail to cover its exposed nose during the winter. It sheds its undercoat during the summer months due to the hotter conditions.

The skull is 31cm (12 inches) long and is armed with an impressive array of large canines and carnassial teeth which, when coupled with huge jaw muscles that are evident from the large sagittal crest and wide zygomatic arches, give it an incredible biteforce that is strong enough to break the bones of prey and even crack the femur of moose.

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© Matthew Sabbe

Last updated on 7/12/2007