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Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)

Grey Wolf, Canis lupus: The grey wolf used to be the most widely distributed mammal, able to live in virtually any northern habitat with suitable food. The grey wolf’s present distribution is mainly in wilderness or remote areas in Canada, Alaska, northern USA, Europe and Asia. The wolf still occupies much of its original range across central Asia.
The wolf still occupies about 90% of its original range in Afghanistan, although this claim has not been well substantiated. Almost nothing is known about the status of this species in Iraq although its range includes countries on either side and it is historically known to occur there.  In Pakistan, gazelle are known to be the primary prey of the wolf, while in other neighboring countries saiga antelope, deer, wild goats and sheep, and other ungulates and livestock make up the majority of the diet.
The central Asian population is estimated to range between 89,000-105,000 individuals, and the IUCN Canid Specialist Group estimates about 1,000 wolves potentially remain in Afghanistan. The major threat to wolves in Afghanistan and Iraq is human persecution because wolves are considered a pest species that preys on livestock. In Afghanistan, wolf pelts are often used to make hats or blankets. However, the Eurasian wolf is protected in Afghanistan and cannot be transported internationally without a CITES permit.
The grey wolf appears strikingly similar to the German shepherd with a coarse coat that varies in color from mottled grey to pure white, red, brown, or black. Wolves may weigh up to 62 kg, but in Afghanistan they are typically in the range of 25-30 kg (55-65 pounds).


Heidi Kretser, Ph.D.
Wildlife Conservation Society 7 Brandy Brook Ave Saranac Lake, NY 12983 USA
518 891-8872 ext 105