Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Last Wolf in Maine

The Daily Kennebec Journal of Friday, April 10, 1908, ran this story:
Bangor News --
According to a report published in the Bangor Whig and Courier three-score and five years ago, the last wolf seen alive in Maine was observed near the upper waters of Union river near the present village of Ellsworth Falls, as it paused to gorge itself upon the body of a dead horse in a clearing by the roadside.

The beast was very old and shaky on its feet, and from the slow and clumsy manner in which it bit off pieces from the frozen flesh, its teeth were evidently badly worn and dulled from years of constant use. From the carrion the beast was tracked to the shores of Union river by footprints in the slush and wet mud.

When these tracks had reached a hole in the ice about the middle of the river they stopped, and the presumption was that the wolf, gorged and stupid with much food, had walked to a place where the ice was thin and had broken through and was swept under the frozen coating and drowned.

This suspicion was verified the next day when the body of a very emaciated and very aged wolf was fished out of Union river near Ellsworth. A citizen of Bangor who is alive in good health today was present when the dripping body was rescued from the water and this gentleman believes that the wolf drowned in Union river thirty-five years ago this month, was the last member of its species which has been seen in Maine.
Today, the wolf in Maine is a phantom presence. There are sightings on record, and an occasional body. There is no known large wolf population in the state, but currently there is a full-scale effort to make Maine one of the restoration territories for the now-protected species.


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