A pack of wolf cubs was just spotted in an area where they hadn't been seen since at least 1905.

There's no need to fear them anymore.

800 years ago, the phrase "The wolves have returned" would have been legit cause for abject terror all across Europe.

Oh hey. We're here to eat you. Photo by Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr.


But in 2015, it's great news. Because it means the species, threatened or endangered in many countries on the continent, is making a big-time comeback.

According to Finland's Yle Uutiset news program, a group of hunters recently spotted pack of wolves, cubs in tow, just casually ambling around in a part of the country where they haven't been seen since at least 1905:

"A litter of wolf cubs have been caught on film in Raseborg, between Helsinki and Turku. Four cubs were filmed by a game camera in late June near the border of Raseborg and Salo. Their parents are apparently Finland's southernmost breeding wolf pair in more than a century."

And it's not just Finland! Apparently, it's a trend all across Europe, as Stephanie Pappas of the Christian Science Monitor reported in December 2014:

"Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves as the U.S.
...
Wolves are thriving, with more than 12,000 individuals found in 10 populations in 28 countries
."

There are many theories as to why the wolves are rebounding so decisively, but a New York Times report from 2013 credits the population increase to "restrictions on shooting them." Which ... seems obvious. And raises an important question:

Why was anyone shooting wolves in the first place?

Wolves have a terrible reputation that, in 2015, is pretty much completely undeserved.

Awoooooooo, sucker. Photo by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Let's face it. Fairy tales really weren't the best PR for wolves, instilling generations of children with a deep-seated, irrational fear of these furry carnivores. More recently, the skeletal and weirdly hairless werewolf featured in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" made a valiant attempt to turn thousands more children off the species for the rest of their lives.

Thankfully, we no longer live in thatched huts that can be huffed and puffed down. We have apartments. And we know werewolves aren't really a thing. We're pretty well-equipped to coexist with these guys now. And we can really, really stand to follow Europe's lead and step up our conservation game here in the lower 48 U.S. states, which despite being twice the size and far less urban than Europe, contains only half the number of wolves.

If they can do it, we can do it.

In the meantime, in an era where a new terrible report on the state of the environment seems to drop every other day, this is a much-needed piece of encouraging news.

Welcome back, wolves of Europe. We missed you.

Seriously, though. Don't eat us. Photo by Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr.

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular