No, I’m not
!!! :) xxxx
This made me giggle a little because I spent a lot of time on this blog spreading proper information on pack structure and stop the outdated information being spread on this subject, so, yes, I know! ^^
Wolf packs in the wild most of the time indeed are family units. They however are just called packs.
Your thinking is correct; it will indeed often result in incest. Incest is not unusual among wolves. Also, it’s not uncommon that wolf packs consist out of more than the breeding pair and their offspring: related wolves from the breeding pair such as brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts can live in the pack as well, so it doesn’t always result in incest (for example when the brother of the deceased breeding male starts mating with the remaining breeding female)
Yes, it does happen! When one of the parents die, usually another member of the pack replaces the deceased parent’s leading role. Often the replacing wolf is the same sex as the wolf that died, and will become the new mate of the remaining parent. If there aren’t any other adult pack members that can replace the role of the deceased parent, it often happens that the remaining parent looks for or accepts a new mate that isn’t from their pack – like in the documentary “Rise of black wolf”.
All wolves love cubs and are programmed to protect and nurture them. This can extend to pups that are not related to themselves, especially if the adopting wolf has pups of its own already.
Also, there’s been studies done in which they followed wolf packs from who one of the breeding pair died. In those cases odd composed packs formed (for example two male wolves who were brothers and a new, unrelated female wolf who joined and paired with one of the brothers), but they all had in common a structure of a leading breeding pair. This studies concluded that apparently, wolves instinctively always seek for this structure in whatever unnatural group they end up or formed.
(You can watch the documentary “Rise of black wolf” for free online here)