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The Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), also known as the European, common, or forest wolf, is a subspecies of gray wolf which has the largest range among wolf subspecies and is the most common in Europe and Asia, ranging through Mongolia, China, Russia, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Caucasus, the Himalayan Mountains and Balkans. Compared to their North American cousins, Eurasian wolves tend to have longer, more highly placed ears, narrower heads, more slender loins and coarser, tawnier coloured fur. Compared to Indian wolves, Eurasian wolves are larger, and have longer, broader skulls. In Europe, wolves rarely form large packs like in North America, as their lives are more strongly influenced by human activities. Because of this, Eurasian wolves tend to be more adaptable than North American wolves in the face of human expansion. With the exception of Great Britain and Ireland, wolves were widespread in Europe during the 18th century. Wolves were exterminated from all central and northern European countries during the 19th century and the post World War II period. Remnant populations remain in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Finland, though Eurasian wolves have been recovering naturally in several parts of Europe; recolonising France, Germany, Sweden and Norway. The largest populations now occur in eastern Europe, primarily in Romania, the Balkans and Poland.
Wolf populations generally seem to be stable or increasing in most, but not all, Bern Convention nations. Limiting factors in member nations include a lack of acceptance of wolves (particularly in areas where they have made a comeback) due to concerns on livestock and dog predation and competition with hunters. Although properly regulated wolf harvests and control have been largely accepted as compatible with maintaining wolf numbers to economically acceptable levels, overhunting and poaching are recognised as the main limiting factor in European wolf populations. With the exception of Russia populations are up to 25000!
March 25th, 2013
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