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Word Count: 517
Wolf Vocalization Howls of wolves are very distinctive They are prolonged deep wailing and are not uttered by any other kind of animal Those who have heard them in the wild say they are the most dreary sounds perceived by humans We can hear them up to 10 miles from their source of origin but wolves can hear howls from much greater distances Experts estimate that howls cover an area of approximately 300 square miles The frequency of howls varies seasonally They increase in number from the end of the summer and attain their highest levels in midwinter during theheight of the breeding season After that they diminish in amount but continue to occur Wolves howl to maintain contact with other members of the pack The pack consists of a breeding pair--the alpha male and his mate the alpha female--as well as their nonbreeding offspring from several successive generations Maintaining contact with each other is of vital importance because wolves function as a family unit during hunting care of the pups and in other ways Therefore togetherness must be maintained and the howls are their means of cohesion Howls are especially heard following a hunt when members of the pack separate from one another The rendezvous is usually initiated by howls of the alpha male Soon other members of the family gather around him Howls are uttered by wolves returning to the rendezvous site as well as from adults and pups at the site Once gathered in their territory an area the pack claims as their own their howls will then take on other functions One is warning
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