It grows up to 6 1/2 feet long and stands as tall as 3 1/2 feet,
weighing up to 120 pounds with powerfull jaws
and can sprint at 40 mph.
IRAQ ATTACK BY WOLVES
To fight the wolves,
residents set up positions at night just beyond their hamlets
and arm themselves with AK-47s and pistols.
Iraqis take up arms against gray wolves
by Hassan Halawa & Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times, Mar 18, 2008
SAMAWAH, Iraq — The bloodthirsty enemy had gathered on the city's perimeter, but this time, the locals were ready. The enemy: packs of hungry gray wolves that had overcome their fear of humans and begun feasting on livestock, right in front of local farmers.
"The locals formed armed groups, exchanging shifts throughout the day in order to protect people, cattle, sheep and also children and women heading to schools from those ferocious wolves," said Mohammed Abu-Reesha, a Samawah resident. "They appear during the day and don't fear bullets and challenge even men holding rifles."
The gray wolf, also called the Arabic wolf in Iraq, is among the most impressive predators in the Middle East. It grows up to 6 1/2 feet long and stands as tall as 3 1/2 feet, weighing up to 120 pounds, said veterinarian Fahad Abu Kaheela.
It has powerful jaws and can sprint at 40 mph. The wolves hunt strategically, organizing themselves into packs and communicating via howls at different tones. They've been prowling Iraq's dusty wastelands for hundreds of years. But something strange happened this year. Locals believe the wolves must have crossed some threshold of desperation, a tipping point that had prevented them from traipsing onto human turf.
Some farmers speculated that the wolves migrated from deserts to the villages because of three years of sparse rains and a lack of suitable prey. Others, including vet Abu Kaheela, said the incursions began after nomadic tribes began using high fences to protect their livestock, perhaps driving the wolves to population centers.
Hussein Dakhel said a pack of a dozen wolves devoured five of his sheep while acting largely undisturbed by gunfire aimed into the air. "We understood that wolves would run if they hear the sound of man or weapons," he said. "I don't know what kind of species this is."
To fight the wolves, residents set up positions at night just beyond their hamlets and armed themselves with AK-47s and pistols. In the village of Hamidiyah, wolves attacked farmer Mohammed Slaim's cattle. He shot at one wolf from 100 yards away. "I hit him, but he started coming toward me, not caring about his injury," he said. "I answered him, along with my uncle, with a barrage of bullets, and he dropped dead 2 yards from us," he said. "Since that day, we are committed to guarding the house in case any of them might come back."
Iraqis take up arms against gray wolves. Los Angeles Times, Mar 18, 2008
PROTECTING WOLF NOT HUMAN and WOLVES HARDWIRED TO KILL
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