For our next Animal Profile we’re crossing the channel and heading to Italy to take a look at the Apennine wolf, a subspecies of the Grey wolf.
Binomial name: Canis lupus italicus
Current conservation status: Near threatened.
- Canis lupus that live in the Abruzzo region of the Apennine mountains are vulnerable to human pressures such as poisoning and shooting. As well as this, there is an increased amount of wolf-dog hybridisation in this area which contributes to the pressure.
Population trend: Increasing.
- Due to a recorded expansion into the Alps, the Apennine wolf population trend is deemed to be growing.
Habitat: Anywhere they’re not threatened by humans.
- Makes sense!
Threats: Habitat loss, hunting, misunderstanding.
- Lack of education around coexistence
- Poorly regulated hunting
- Human land use
Role: Control of herbivore populations. Thereby controlling plant species population.
- Wolves play a vital role within ecosystems. By preying on larger herbivores such as deer, they help to control population sizes and give vegetation a chance to grow up. This helps to enrichen the ecology of the region in which they live.
Support needed: Research in population size and trends, species recovery, and threats. Habitat protection. Compliance and enforcement. Awareness and communications
- As with many other species, it is vital that population size and trends are monitored to ensure that they are stable and or increasing
- More research is also required to understand the threats faced by the species, and how raising awareness and understanding of wolves through communication will alleviate these
- With increased awareness of the species comes an understanding of their habitat, and how to protect it.
Facts about the Apennine wolf:
- Canis lupus can live for up to 18 years
- Male Italian Wolves have an average weight of 24 – 40 kilograms
- The Italian Wolf is a nocturnal hunter which feeds primarily on medium sized animals such as Chamois, Roe Deer, Red Deer and Wild Boar
- In the Abruzzo region, wolf packs consist of between 6 and 7 individuals
- A female wolf can give birth to between 2 and 8 cubs.