Ecologists have warned people visiting Voyageurs National Park to watch out for a young wolf that has been seen acting strangely around people. Although the animal hasn't shown signs of being dangerous, its behavior isn't what experts would consider normal.
In a Facebook post, Voyageurs Wolf Project says that people have attempted to scare the animal away, without success. "The wolf is not acting aggressively toward people or anything like that," said the organization. "However, its indifference toward people over a several day period is not normal behavior. If you see the wolf, do not approach it, attempt to feed it, or anything else like that. Just let it be a wolf."
The animal has been spotted close to roadsides eating grasshoppers. The organization explains that while wolves do eat roadkill, they don't tend to gravitate towards roads, and are usually timid around people.
Many people have said that the wolf appears unusually thin, but the Wolf Project says that it actually appears to be in good condition considering the time of year, when all wolves are lean and seeking more food. The organization is also keen to point out that it is indeed a wolf, not a coyote as many people have speculated. Wolves has longer, lankier legs, and 'blockier' facial structure than coyotes.
"If you happen to see this wolf, please let us know so we can track its whereabouts and sightings," it said.
Voyageurs Wolf Project focuses on understanding the summer ecology of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs ecosystem in northern Minnesota. The animals are much more visible in the winter when they hunt large prey in packs, but less is known about them during the warmer months.
The project is particularly involved in studying wolves' reproductive ecology (including the location of their dens and number of pups born), and their predation behavior.