Gray Wolves - Conservators Center
Geoffroy’s Cats
30 August 2016
Jungle Cats
30 August 2016

Least Concern, IUCN 3.1
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

Gray Wolves

Canis lupus

The gray wolf, Canis lupus, is the largest extant member of the genus Canis and possess highly advanced social behavior. Wolves are a highly adaptable and resilient species and are the progenitor of the domestic dog, C. l. familiaris. Like its cousin, the red wolf, the gray wolf is distinguished from other wild canids by its larger size, less pointed features, and its more gregarious nature.

Wolf range. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 2010. Canis lupus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3

Originating in the Pleistocene and once the world’s most widely distributed mammal, its traditional range encompassed North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, making it the only member of Canis to encompass both Old World and New World territory. Today the gray wolf is extinct in much of Western Europe and North America, though their reintroduction to public lands in the United States has repatriated wolves to several areas. The gray wolf’s original worldwide range has been reduced by roughly 33% by deliberate persecution, mainly due to fear of attacks on humans and conflict with agriculture. 

Continued threats include competition with humans for livestock and game species, exaggerated concern by the public regarding the threat and danger of wolves, and fragmentation of habitat, with resulting areas becoming too small for populations with long-term viability.

The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates (caribou, elk, bison, and deer), though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage. It is a cursorial predator, meaning that it chases its prey until exhaustion rather than ambushing or trying to overwhelm prey quickly.

Meet the Conservators Center's Wolves



Sitka & Rayne

We welcomed the arrival of our British Columbian wolf pups on June 2nd, 2019 when they were just seven weeks old. We are thrilled to be expanding our existing wolf pack! Like our adult wolves, Trekkie and Roland, the pups are a subspecies of the gray wolf. While Trekkie and Roland’s white coats indicate that their genetic lineage is Arctic, Sitka and Rayne display characteristics indicative of British Columbian heritage. Sitka and Rayne grew rapidly after arriving at the Animal Park, and they’re not done yet! They will continue to grow until they reach their adult sizes, at around their first birthday. We expect them to grow to be slightly larger than Trekkie and Roland.