Sunday, 9 August 2015

The extinct island's wolves

The native British wolf has been extinct for 270 years. Growing at the size of a timber wolf, an adult British wolf was often darker in appearance, almost black in colour, with blazing fiery eyes.

The destruction of this British wild animal has been part of the islands since after the Roman occupation. King Athelstan, an Anglo Saxon warlord, demanded the brutal deaths of hundreds of wolves across the landscape every year so that their pelts could be given as a token of friendship to a Welsh king. Wolves were hunted periodically throughout the forests in Wales and the West of England.

The Normans favoured wolf tongues in law and punishment, offering criminals the chance to escape execution to hunt wolves instead. January was called "Wolf Month" in the Anglo Saxon chronicals, often linked with wolf hunts. However, wolf hunting became restricted to the nobility when lands were owned and occupied by the Normans.

For centuries, wolves were hunted throughout the British isles during hunting seasons, and sadly, wolf pups were also put to death cruelly. It turned into a pasttime and hobby among the rich, and various servants of landowners were trained to hunt wolves. King Edward I "Longshanks" wanted all wolves eradicated from his land.

All the counties of England and Wales were frequently killing wolves that there was few left by the 16th century. In Scotland, wolves were found in scattered areas, wolves were considered a menace. People buried their dead on hilltops and mountains to prevent wolves from reaching them.

Such a difficult place of burial is the towering Sea Stack column. Forests were cut down under the rule of James I and wolf habitat was flattened. Mary Queen of Scots hunted wolves as a hobby, but she only killed five of them. The Turdors were responsible for wiping out a load of British wildlife species, including birds and fish, because they regarded all of nature as "vermin".

 The last wolf to be killed in the british isles was in 1680. It coincides with the disappearance of the wild boar in Britain. Some argue that it's not known exactly when due to sightings of wolves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even modern times are full of witnesses having seen large mysterious black wolflike beasts roaming around by themselves.

What happened to the wild British wolf was terrible and had a major devastating impact on the environment. An increase in deer, squirrels, mice, sheep, ect because of no natural predator, transformed the British Isles into a grass desert, making an increase of flooding, moisture, ice, wind and grey skies. Certain plants have become extinct also, and trees vulnerable to diseases.

Wolf's Tale (history of the wolf in Scotland)
Extinct English wolf
Hunting in Tudor England

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