The grey wolf is the world’s largest canid. Once the most widely distributed terrestrial mammal, these highly intelligent and social animals are still found across much of the northern hemisphere and are categorised as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. However, wolves are under severe threat in many parts of their range – especially in Europe.
Wolves have faced centuries of persecution by humans throughout their range, due to deep-rooted superstition and to their fearsome reputation – largely undeserved – as voracious killers of livestock and a danger to people. As a result, grey wolves are today restricted to just two thirds of their original territory and are mainly confined to wilderness or remote areas.
Recent decades have witnessed the beginnings of a turnaround in the fortunes of the grey wolf, with some protective measures being put into place in its last remaining European strongholds. Conservation efforts are focusing on strengthening this protection and promoting peaceful coexistence between local people and wolf packs.