Facebook post about wolves makes howling errors

15 July 2021
What was claimed

A photo of a wolf pack shows how they are separated in formation based on strength, with an alpha wolf that pulls up the rear and controls the whole group.

Our verdict

The image, taken from a documentary, actually shows a wolf at the front of the group, leading the rest of them. One wolf leads to conserve energy for the rest of the pack.

A Facebook post shows a photo of a wolf pack, with text alongside the photo explaining their formation.

It claims that while on the move the pack organises a formation based on strength, with the “alpha” wolf pulling up the rear and controlling the direction of the entire group, while the old and sick wolves set the pace at the front of the group.

While the photograph is real (taken from the 2011 documentary Frozen Planet filming in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada), the accompanying description isn’t accurate.

As this fact check by Snopes points out, the documentary explains that one “alpha female” leads the pack while other wolves follow to conserve energy. It is not correct that the wolves at the front are old or sick, or that the wolves at the back are the strongest.

The post has been in circulation online since at least 2015. The photo is incorrectly attributed to “Cesare Brai” but was actually taken by Chadden Hunter.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the wolves aren’t separated into formation based on strength. They are led by one wolf at the front, which helps conserve energy for the rest of the pack.

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