Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The Falkland Islands Wolf
So anyway, I looked at a list of lots of extinct animals, and I decided to write about an extinct wolf because when any member of the dog family goes extinct, it's a very sad day.
The British mostly settled the Falkland Islands, so the Islands are what is called a "self-governing overseas territory" of the UK. But Argentina thinks that the Islands should belong to them, so they tried to take over in 1982, and the British fought back and won. I'm not saying who's right and who's wrong in this little argument. I'm just telling you what happened.
The first human who wrote about seeing a Falkland Islands Wolf was Captain John Strong, in 1692. He took a wolf on his ship so he could show it to people in Europe, but then when the ship fired its cannon, the wolf got very scared and jumped overboard. Frankly, I would have done the exact same thing!
Charles Darwin, who was a very famous man who studied nature, wrote about the Falkland Islands Wolves and about how tame they were. He said that a person could kill a wolf by offering a piece of meat with one hand and then stabbing the wolf with a knife in the other hand. Mr. Darwin predicted that the wolf would soon be extinct, and he was right. The people who came to live on the islands wanted to kill the wolves because they thought the wolves would eat their sheep. So they poisoned the wolves and also shot them. The last wolf on West Falkland Island was killed in 1876.
I'm sorry this story has a sad ending, but I guess stories about extinct animals are always going to end sadly. It's not my fault that the Falkland Islands people killed off all their wolves, but if I had been around when they were doing it, I might have bitten them on the leg to see if I could get them to stop!