Around the World in 80 Days - Day 41
The last known one of these died in 1905, though some still are certain they did not go extinct. There are few bad taxidermy examples that I was able to look at pictures of in creating this, and all but one specimen had this interesting gold colour that reminded me of a dingo. The reason for their extinction seems to have been rabies arriving in Japan. Before then, there was a good relationship between the wolves and farmers. The wolves were appreciated because along with the wild boar and deer they preyed on, they also killed pests that would otherwise harm crops. When they got sick though, the wolves would become aggressive and the farmers then had to kill them. All but one site I saw said they were the smallest of the wolves. They were just barely a foot tall at the shoulder, less than half the height of a typical grey wolf. Though classified as a sub species of the grey wolf, they have DNA closer to the ice age Siberian wolf. Combine that with their extreme difference in appearance and size, some feel they should be their own species.
I mentioned in my Red Wolf blog post that for some reason wolves love me. I don't know why, but I feel very blessed that they do. I wish I had more opportunities to see them. I really would love to get a chance to come across wolves in the wild. One of these days I'm going to get a new camera that will be lightweight enough I can hike with it. In a dream world I will be able to go to Yellowstone during the winter and hang out to photograph the wolves there. Until then, I just hope that I come across a wolf in the wild somewhere here in Oregon. Sadly many people here do not see the beauty and benefit in wolves.