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Himalayan Wolf

Why is it in the news?

  • The first-ever IUCN Assessment of the Himalayan Wolf published.

Major Findings

  • The IUCN assessment underscores a continuous decline in the area, extent, and quality of habitat for Himalayan wolves.
  • The study reveals an estimated total population of 2,275–3,792 mature individuals, with 227–378 in India.

Major Threats:

  • Depredation Conflict: This arises due to habitat modification, encroachment, and depletion of wild prey populations. The competition for resources exacerbates conflicts between humans and wolves.
  • Hybridization with Dogs: Particularly concerning in regions like Ladakh and Spiti, where feral dog populations are on the rise. This hybridization poses a threat to the genetic integrity of the Himalayan wolf population.
  • Illegal Hunting: Himalayan wolves face the peril of illegal hunting driven by the trade in fur and body parts. Paws, tongues, heads, and other body parts are sought after, leading to further population decline.


About Himalayan Wolf (Canis lupus ssp. chanco)

  • Found at high altitudes (above 3,900m) in the Himalayas in Nepal and India, as well as the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Possess genetic adaptations that allow them to cope with the challenging hypoxic conditions prevalent at high altitudes.
  • Exhibits a distinct appearance with thick fur, brown coloration on the back and tail, and paler yellows on the face, limbs, and underside. Larger than both Indian and European wolves. Displays a preference for wild prey over domestic species.
  • Designated as “Vulnerable,” indicating a high risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Listed under Schedule I, offering stringent protection measures in India.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Placed in Appendix I, recognizing the need for international cooperation to ensure its survival.


Measures for Protection

  • Prioritize initiatives that focus on maintaining robust prey populations and restoring habitats to support the Himalayan wolf.
  • Encourage collaborative efforts among range countries to address the shared challenges in conserving the species and its habitat.
  • Integrate the Himalayan wolf into broader conservation strategies, ensuring specific attention and resources are allocated to safeguard this unique and vulnerable species.

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