Wolves and Valentine’s Day

Parks Canada photo
Parks Canada photo
Jasper National Park is highly regarded as one of the most romantic spots in Canada, especially in February, known as the month of romance. Did you know that February romance has ties to one of the many animal species in Jasper, wolves?

The ancient festival of Lupercalia (or wolf festival) was traditionally held on or around February 15th. Some suggest the festival started to honour the she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, as babies; other accounts suggest it was a festival of shepherds in honour of the god, Lupercus, who protected their herds from wolves. Regardless of its origins, an underlying theme of Lupercalia was fertility.
In Jasper National Park, the themes of romance and wolves are still common in February. For wolves, breeding season is typically from mid to late February, with new pups born in the spring. At this time of year, you might catch wolf pairs nuzzling, prancing and scent marking. All female wolves are ready to mate at about the same time, a great strategy to keep their mates from looking at other she-wolves. A wolf pair will stay together year round and when the pups arrive, dad plays a role in their upbringing.
Family Day is also celebrated in February and Jasper National Park has a weekend full of activities planned at Marmot Meadows.  Family Day also aligns well with wolf family values as wolf packs consist primarily of the breeding (alpha) pair and their young. Wolf pups grow quickly and by February, they will already be out hunting with the pack. Several generations may be found in one pack but eventually young wolves may leave to find their own territory and mate. With romance in the air, this often happens in February but can happen at any time of the year.
February is a great time to get out and explore the natural wonders of Jasper. On your own, with a loved one or with family, your adventure awaits with star-filled nights, longer days and incredible scenery. Keep an eye out and you might even catch a glimpse of wolves snuggling in the snow.

While seeing a wolf in the wild is an incredible experience, it is important to remember that wolves are wild animals. Help keep them alive and wild. Remember: keep your distance, travel smart – be prepared, never feed a wild animal, and keep dogs on leash.