In a wolf pack, social structure is crucial for survival. It’s the art of living together for better or for worse.
To prevent members of the pack from fighting among themselves, there is an order of dominance. Each member has their place or rank within this order. When a higher-ranking wolf disagrees with a lower-ranking wolf, the lower-ranking wolf yields without a fight. We have already explained this process in the previous article on « aggression.«
What is an Alpha wolf?
I would rather say an Alpha couple. They are the leaders who make all the necessary decisions for the well-being of the entire pack and are the only ones to reproduce.
Alpha individuals are, by definition, the highest in the hierarchy of a group. Their instinctive tasks include organizing meals, initiating hunting expeditions, and guiding the pack during the hunt. They are also the first to eat after capturing prey.
They play a vital role in initiating and organizing the pack’s movements. They ensure territory defense through scent marking, even double marking, which is one of the best indicators of the dominant breeding status, in addition to initiating howling. The Alpha couple claims the best resting spots, a specific isolation area for the dominant pair. Other pack members do not have access to it, and the Alpha male’s dominance is total. This is where mating occurs. One of the most important roles of the Alpha couple is to regulate the pack’s reproductive activities. This regulation prevents overconsumption that would lead to the destruction of prey and, ultimately, the demise of the pack.
They can be recognized by their postures, erect ears, fixed gaze, and raised tail.
What is an Omega wolf?
An Omega wolf is essential for the survival of a pack, even though it occupies the lowest rank.
This wolf’s instinctive mission is to diffuse hostilities and lower tensions within the pack. It serves as the scapegoat, the target of the rest of the pack’s social aggression.
In a way, it acts as a little healer. Additionally, it endures blows and holds an unenviable position, as it positions itself in the middle of disputes to try to calm the other wolves, alleviate their stress, and transition them from aggression to serenity. In doing so, it restores balance. It is still a gift to have the Omega. It is the last to eat in the pack. Nevertheless, the Omega is sometimes rewarded by the Alpha for its calming actions. It is, therefore, highly useful.
It can be recognized by its posture, flattened fur, lowered ears, hunched posture, and tail tucked between its legs.
In the world of wolves, the entire pack eats according to what each wolf represents in their absolute essence. Each rank has a respected role.
What lesson can humans learn from wolves ? The lesson of ranks, attitude, the question is:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What is my purpose?
Accepting who we are, finding balance, being in harmony with ourselves. Wolves don’t cheat; they are what they are. The first rank is as important as the last in their world because each one knows its place. Failure to understand this leads to self-destruction.
We have discussed the « Alpha » and « Omega » ranks, the first and last ranks. Between the two, there are two other ranks, « Beta » and « Gamma, » which we will discuss in a future article.
Artificial intelligence translation of an original text by Sandrine Devienne.
Click here to read the French version