We have much in common with wolves. Wolves have emotional lives, can experience emotions such as joy and grief.
Wolves mourn lost pack members. After the death of a wolf, the remainder of the pack walk with their heads and tails held low – a sign of depression. They no longer howl as a group, but each cries in their own way. This behavior often lasts for a few weeks.
Jim and Jamie Dutcher describe the grief and mourning in a wolf pack after the loss of the low-ranking omega female wolf, Motaki, to a mountain lion. The pack lost their spirit and their playfulness. They no longer howled as a group, but rather they “sang alone in a slow mournful cry.
” They were depressed — tails and heads held low and walking softly and slowly — when they came upon the place where Motaki was killed. They inspected the area and pinned their ears back and dropped their tails, a gesture that usually means submission.
It took about six weeks for the pack to return to normal. The Dutchers also tell of a wolf pack in Canada in which one pack member died and the others wandered about in a figure eight as if searching for her. They also howled long and mournfully.