Wolf Types & Locations
There are three main types of wolves: the gray wolf (Canis lupus) with more than 30 subspecies, the red wolf (Canis rufus), and the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). Here is a breakdown of where they live:
Gray wolf: The gray wolf is the most widely distributed wolf in the world, with populations in North America, Europe, and Asia. In North America, gray wolves are found in Alaska, Canada, and the contiguous United States, including in Yellowstone National Park. In Europe, they are found in several countries, including Italy, Spain, and Romania. In Asia, they can be found in Russia, China, and Mongolia.
Red wolf: The red wolf is one of the rarest canids in the world and is found only in a small part of North Carolina in the United States. The population of red wolves is estimated to be around 20-30 individuals in the wild, making it critically endangered.
The Red wolf (Canis rufus) is a critically endangered subspecies of gray wolf that is found in the southeastern United States. Historically, their range extended from Texas to Florida and up to the mid-Atlantic states, but now they are only found in a small area of northeastern North Carolina.
Red wolves are smaller than most subspecies of gray wolf, with a reddish-brown coat and black-tipped tail. They are highly social animals that live in family groups, or packs, and primarily feed on small to medium-sized mammals such as rabbits, rodents, and deer.
Due to habitat loss, hunting, and other human activities, the population of red wolves declined rapidly in the 20th century. In the 1970s, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild, but a small population was found in captivity and efforts were made to breed and reintroduce them into the wild.
However, the population has continued to decline, and as of 2021, there are only about 10-20 red wolves remaining in the wild. Conservation efforts, such as habitat restoration, reintroduction programs, and legal protection, are critical to the survival of this subspecies.
Ethiopian wolf: The Ethiopian wolf is a unique species of wolf that is found only in the highlands of Ethiopia, in Africa. They live in Afroalpine habitats at elevations of between 3,000 and 4,500 meters. The Ethiopian wolf is also endangered, with a population estimated to be less than 500 individuals.
The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is a critically endangered subspecies of wolf that is found only in the Ethiopian highlands in eastern Africa. They are the only wolf species native to Africa.Ethiopian wolves are relatively small, with a reddish-orange coat and long, narrow snout.
They live in high-altitude Afroalpine grasslands and heathlands, usually above 3,000 meters, where they primarily feed on rodents such as mole rats.Due to habitat loss, hunting, and disease transmission from domestic dogs, the population of Ethiopian wolves has declined significantly in recent years. As of 2021, there are only around 400 individuals remaining in the wild. Conservation efforts, such as habitat restoration, disease monitoring and control, and community education, are critical to the survival of this unique subspecies.
Grey wolf subspecies and where they live
The taxonomy of the wolf (Canis lupus) has been a topic of ongoing debate and research, with different authorities recognizing a varying number of subspecies. The exact number of wolf subspecies that exist is still subject to some debate, but the most widely recognized taxonomy currently lists between 28 and 38 subspecies of gray wolf worldwide.
This variation in the number of subspecies recognized is partly due to the genetic and geographic diversity of the species, as well as the challenges in identifying and defining subspecies. Some researchers believe that the current subspecies classifications may not accurately reflect the true genetic diversity of the wolf, and ongoing research is aimed at improving our understanding of wolf taxonomy and evolution.
There are many subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus), with different physical characteristics and ranges. Here are some of the most well-known gray wolf subspecies and where they live:
- Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos): The Arctic wolf is found in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and parts of Alaska. They are adapted to cold weather and have a white coat to help them blend in with their snowy environment.
- Northwestern wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis): The Northwestern wolf is found in western North America, including in British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of the United States such as Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
- Eastern wolf (Canis lupus lycaon): The Eastern wolf is found in eastern North America, including in Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the northeastern United States. They are also sometimes referred to as the “Algonquin wolf.”
- Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi): The Mexican wolf is found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They are one of the rarest subspecies of gray wolf, with a population estimated to be around 150 individuals in the wild.
- Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus): The Eurasian wolf is found in Europe and Asia, from western Europe to parts of Russia and China.
- Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus): The Italian wolf is found in Italy and is one of the smallest subspecies of gray wolf.
- Tundra wolf (Canis lupus albus): The Tundra wolf is found in northern Russia, particularly in the tundra and forest-tundra regions. They have a thick, white coat that helps them blend in with their snowy environment.
- Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs): The Arabian wolf is found in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in the desert and semi-desert regions. They are a small subspecies of gray wolf and are adapted to hot and dry environments.
- Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco): The Tibetan wolf is found in China, Nepal, and Tibet, particularly in the high-altitude areas of the Himalayas. They are adapted to life at high altitudes and have thick fur and large lungs to help them cope with the thin air.
- Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus): The Iberian wolf is found in Portugal and Spain, particularly in the mountainous regions of the north. They are one of the smallest subspecies of gray wolf and have a distinctive reddish color.
- Hudson Bay wolf (Canis lupus hudsonicus): The Hudson Bay wolf is found in Canada, particularly in the Hudson Bay region. They have a lighter-colored coat than some other subspecies of gray wolf.
- Alaskan tundra wolf (Canis lupus tundrarum): The Alaskan tundra wolf is found in Alaska, particularly in the tundra and forest-tundra regions. They have a thick, white coat to help them blend in with their environment.
- British Columbian wolf (Canis lupus columbianus): The British Columbian wolf is found in western Canada, particularly in British Columbia. They are sometimes called the “timber wolf” and are one of the largest subspecies of gray wolf.
- Rocky Mountain wolf (Canis lupus nubilus): The Rocky Mountain wolf is found in western North America, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. They are a subspecies of the Northwestern wolf and are adapted to life in mountainous regions.
- Greek wolf (Canis lupus lupaster): The Greek wolf is found in Greece and parts of Bulgaria and is one of the smaller subspecies of gray wolf. They are adapted to living in mountainous and forested areas.
- Korean wolf (Canis lupus coreanus): The Korean wolf is found in North and South Korea, and is one of the smallest subspecies of gray wolf. They have a brownish-red coat and are adapted to living in mountainous areas.
- Steppe wolf (Canis lupus campestris): The Steppe wolf is found in eastern Europe and western Asia, particularly in the steppe and semi-desert regions. They are a relatively small subspecies of gray wolf and have a yellowish-grey coat.
- Tibetan Plateau wolf (Canis lupus filchneri): The Tibetan Plateau wolf is found in the Tibetan Plateau in China and is one of the largest subspecies of gray wolf. They have a thick, woolly coat to help them cope with the cold temperatures and high altitudes.
- Yukon wolf (Canis lupus pambasileus): The Yukon wolf is found in Canada, particularly in the Yukon Territory. They have a thick, dark coat and are one of the largest subspecies of gray wolf.These subspecies of gray wolf are just a few of the many variations that exist.
- Turkish wolf (Canis lupus halipensis): The Turkish wolf is found in Turkey and parts of the Middle East. They are a medium-sized subspecies, with a coat that ranges from gray to brown.
- Russian wolf (Canis lupus communis): The Russian wolf is found in Russia and neighboring countries. They have a thick, dense coat and are well adapted to cold environments.I
- Cascade mountain wolf (Canis lupus fuscus): The Cascade mountain wolf is found in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. They are a medium-sized subspecies, with a dark brown coat and distinctive lighter markings on their face and legs.
- Baffin Island wolf (Canis lupus manningi): The Baffin Island wolf is found on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. They are a relatively small subspecies, with a thick, white coat that helps them survive in their cold environment.G
- Greenland wolf (Canis lupus orion): The Greenland wolf is found in Greenland and northeastern Canada. They are a medium-sized subspecies, with a thick, white or gray coat and shorter ears than other subspecies.
- Iranian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes): The Iranian wolf is found in Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and India. They are a small to medium-sized subspecies, with a light-colored coat and a more slender body shape than other subspecies.