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Grey wolf

Latin name: Canis lupus

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Grey wolf

Local people can see large predators such as wolves as a threat to their sheep and therefore their livelihoods. In Georgia FFI and NACRES are now engaging with the shepherding community, looking at ways to reduce the impact of predation and help people to live side by side with the area’s wildlife.

Gareth Goldthorpe

Project Field Coordinator, Georgia, Fauna & Flora International

An image relating to Grey wolf

The mysterious grey wolf once roamed freely across the wilderness areas of the northern hemisphere. More recently, however, it is seen less and less frequently with local extinctions occurring across Western Europe. Today, thankfully, numbers appear to be more stable.

Historically the wolf has been vilified by almost every culture with which it has come into contact; from the story of Little Red Riding Hood that dominates children’s stories in the West to the shape-shifting werewolf, or spectre wolf, that was once more familiar in the east, the wolf became an avatar reflecting the darker side of man’s own nature.

Whether this demonising of the wolf came as a result of man’s shift from hunting and gathering to farming and herding, or whether it was the inevitable result of the “civilising” of human culture is debatable. What is clear, however, is the persecution that ensued and the near total extinction of what was once the planet’s most wide-ranging mammal.

Grey wolf facts:

  • The grey wolf is the largest wild member of the Canidae family
  • The most common coat colour is grey flecked with black, though wolves can be found that are brown, black or almost pure white
  • Grey wolves are most commonly found in packs, usually numbering around five to 12 related individuals, although pairs and lone wolves also occur

Even though numbers of grey wolf appear to be stable they are threatened by human-animal conflict with shepherds and fragmentation of habitat.

Fauna & Flora International is working with partners in Georgia, Armenia, Romania, and across the Eurasia region to tackle threats to wolves, including human-carnivore conflict and habitat degradation.

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Did you know?

Grey wolves once had the largest natural distribution of any mammal except human beings. Sadly, they can no longer claim this record as they have lost much of their former range.

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