Summary: How do we identify those who would prey upon the flock of God?

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It’s a beautiful night in the Falkland Islands, just off the coast of Argentina. These British Islands are known for their rich pasture land. The air is still this evening as the sheep graze. The sun is setting, and the sky appears as a lavender canvas gently caressing stars sparkling like diamonds. The steady sound of the Atlantic can be heard in the distance. It is a familiar sight in this part of the world.

There is Danger lurking!

Although this paints a serene picture, there is danger lurking! A killer is on the prowl, and is hungry. His prey tonight are the unsuspecting, grazing sheep. This predator is an expert in stealth and is rarely seen. Carefully, he positions himself with his face in the wind so as not to reveal his presence. He then waits patiently for the right moment.

Ordinary sheep are no match for him, but somewhere in the herd is a fearsome ram. He must know where he is, so that he is not taken by surprise. An encounter with the ram could spell disaster for him. He could be seriously injured or even killed, or at the very least, driven from his fallen prey, thus losing his meal. Once he spots the ram, he will strike sheep that are a safe distance away.

The enemy’s strategy

As sheep graze, they slowly gravitate in one general direction. The predator’s strategy is simple -he will attack the young or weak that are on the outer-edge of the flock. Suddenly, the destroyer will lunge from the darkness and bite a young sheep on the backbone, then vanish back into the night! The sheep will cry out! But will be too far away from help.

As the sheep continue to move on, this wounded one can no longer keep up. Soon, the lamb will be alone. From its hiding the killer will move in, sensing the time for the slaughter is right.

The deadly result!

At first light, the sheep farmer will realize the magnitude of the carnage. He may find as many as 10 to 15 sheep slaughtered! But only one will be found to have been eaten, the rest were simply victims of the predator’s thirst for blood.

Who is this dreadful beast? His name is Canis Lupus Linnaeus. Or to the common man, the wolf.

Folklore of wolves

Perhaps no animal has captured the imagination of man like the wolf. The wolf has permeated the mind of man in legendary proportions. Thus, his folklore is full of stories about the wolf.

"Folklore also has contributed to the wolf’s bad reputation. In many old sayings, the animal is a symbol of badness or evil. For example, "to keep the wolf from the door" means to prevent hunger or poverty. "A wolf in sheep’s clothing" describes a person who acts friendly but has evil intentions. Fables and other folk tales pass on the misleading notion that wolves attack people. In the story of Little Red Riding Hood, a wolf threatens to eat a little girl." (World Book Encyclopedia, vol.21)

The wolf’s bad reputation is not without foundation, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt once called the wolf, the "beast of waste and desolation". This statement was a result of observing the seemingly senseless slaughter of sheep by wolves. Why did they kill so much more than they could eat? This was contrary to the nature of predator and prey.

Their hunting techniques

Wolves vary their hunting techniques. They hunt and kill many different animals, such as deer, moose, caribou, birds, rabbits, sheep and even mice. But sheep are the only animals that wolves slaughter in apparent compulsion, and in unnecessary numbers. What makes this more compelling, is that wolves are extremely intelligent hunters, not marauders. But there is simply something in sheep that causes the wolf’s thirst for blood to explode into furious attacks!

Sometimes, wolves will slowly herd larger prey onto frozen lakes, water or loose snow. The purpose is to make footing and balance treacherous. In this vulnerable state the animal can be attacked from different directions and be unable to protect itself.

Wolves can literally run all night long. They can wear down their resistant prey by following at a constant distance; adjusting to the animal’s speed until exhaustion sets in. Even strong animals that are not without defense against the wolf will eventually succumb to this relentless pressure. As the old saying goes, -"Fatigue makes cowards out of strong men". The same is true in the animal kingdom.

Some animals unwittingly set themselves up to be killed because they feed or travel alone. Musk Oxen, practically invulnerable to attack when standing in a defensive formation together, are easy prey for wolves once they stray from the herd. Working in unison, the wolves will surround a large animal such as this, making it impossible for it to face all the intruders. The wolves will strike from the sides and rear, slashing at the hams, ripping at the flanks and abdomen. The animal will weaken from the continuous harassment, and loss of blood, then the wolves will move in for the kill.

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