Waheela

Giant Dog of northern North America.

Etymology: Unknown; only heard in one instance in Michigan.

Variant name: Great white wolf. Physical description: Larger and more robust than a normal male wolf. Shoulder height, 3 feet 6 inches. Weight, 200 pounds. White, shaggy hair. Large, broad head. Small ears. Front legs are long in comparison to hind legs. Splayed feet. Thick tail.

Behavior: Said to be a solitary scavenger in Nahanni and to hunt moose in packs in ontario.

Tracks: Like a wolf s but 8 inches across. Habitat: Tundra but may migrate south in winter.

Distribution: Alaska; South Nahanni River valley, Northwest Territories, Canada; Hearst, ontario; northern Michigan.

Significant sighting: A friend of ivan Sanderson was hunting along a tributary of the South Nahanni upriver from Virginia Falls when he ran across an enormous white wolf with a wide head and shaggy hair. He shot at it twice but apparently did no damage. The area formerly had a reputation for the mysterious deaths of prospectors, who had their heads bitten or torn off.

Possible explanations:

(1) An outsize Gray wolf (Canis lupis), which generally stands no more than 2 feet 6 inches at the shoulder and weighs a maximum of 175 pounds. Its color sometimes approaches nearly white in the Arctic. Normal wolf tracks are 4-5 inches across.

(2) A surviving species of Bear-dog (Family Amphicyonidae), a group of predators that lived in North America about 34-5 million years ago, from the Late Eocene through the Miocene. They had wolflike faces and medium-to-large bodies, with massive thigh and shoulder bones. Most had plantigrade feet, but some were digitigrade. Some species could climb trees like bears, while others were adapted for running.

Sources: Ivan T. Sanderson, "The Dire Wolf," Pursuit, no. 28 (October 1974): 91-94; Karl Shuker, In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (London: Blandford, 1995), pp. 151-152; Paul W., "Great White Wolves in Canada," North American BioFortean Review 2, no. 1 (2000): 9, http://www.strangeark.com/nabr/ NABR3.pdf.

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