|Himalayan wolf in the Upper Mustang region of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal|
C. l. chanco
|Canis lupus chanco|
|Himalayan wolf distribution (red dots in highlands) compared with the holarctic grey wolf (blue dots in lowlands)|
The Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco)is a canine of debated taxonomy. It is distinguished by its genetic markers, with mitochondrial DNA indicating that it is genetically basal to the Holarctic grey wolf, genetically the same wolf as the Tibetan wolf, and has an association with the African golden wolf (Canis lupaster). No striking morphological differences are seen between the wolves from the Himalayas and those from Tibet. The Himalayan wolf lineage can be found living in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau predominantly above 4,000 m in elevation because it has adapted to a low-oxygen environment, compared with other wolves that are found only at lower elevations.
Some authors have proposed the reclassification of this lineage as a separate species.In 2019, a workshop hosted by the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group noted that the Himalayan wolf's distribution included the Himalayan range and the Tibetan Plateau. The group recommends that this wolf lineage be known as the "Himalayan wolf" and classified as Canis lupus chanco until a genetic analysis of the holotypes is available. The Himalayan wolf lacks a proper morphological analysis.
Canis chanco was the scientific name proposed by John Edward Gray in 1863, who described a skin of a wolf that was shot in Chinese Tartary.This specimen was classified as a wolf subspecies Canis lupus chanco by St. George Jackson Mivart in 1880. In the 19th and 20th centuries, several zoological specimens were described:
In 1938, Glover Morrill Allen classified these specimens as synonyms for C. l. chanco.In 1941, Reginald Pocock corroborated this assessment after reviewing wolf skins and skulls in the collection of the Natural History Museum, London. In 2005, W. Christopher Wozencraft also listed C. l. niger, C. l. filchneri, C. l. karanorensis, and C. l. tschiliensis as synonyms for C. l. chanco.
Canis himalayensis was proposed by Aggarwal et al. in 2007 for wolf specimens from the Indian Himalayas that differed in mitochondrial DNA from specimens collected in other parts of India. 2009, Canis himalayensis was proposed as a distinct wolf species through the Nomenclature Specialist on the CITES Animals Committee. The proposal was based on one study that relied on only a limited number of museum and zoo samples that may not have been representative of the wild population. The committee recommended against this proposal, but suggested that the name be entered into the CITES species database as a synonym for Canis lupus. The committee stated that the classification was for conservation purposes only, and did not "reflect the latest state of taxonomic knowledge". Further fieldwork was called for. This genetic lineage shows a 3.9% divergence in the mDNA cytochrome b gene when compared with the Holarctic grey wolf, which may justify it being classified as a distinct species. In 2019, a workshop hosted by the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group noted that the Himalayan wolf's distribution included the Himalayan range and the Tibetan Plateau. The group determined that the earliest available Latin name is Canis chanco Gray, 1863, but the geographic location of the holotype is unclear. The group recommends that this wolf lineage be known as the "Himalayan wolf" and classified as Canis lupus chanco until a genetic analysis of the holotypes is available. In 2020, further research on the Himalayan wolf indicates that it warrants species-level recognition under the Unified Species Concept, the Differential Fitness Species Concept, and the Biological Species Concept. It was identified as an evolutionary significant unit that warranted assignment onto the IUCN Red List for its protection.In April
The mitochondrial DNA of 27 wolves from the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau was compared in 2004. Results indicate that five related haplotypes formed a clade that is basal to all other wolves. This clade included one sample from Ladakh, nine from the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, four from Nepal, and two from Tibet. The Himalayan wolf clade diverged from other canids 800,000 years ago. Seven wolves from Kashmir did not fall into this clade. The mtDNA of 18 captive wolves in the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was analysed in 2007. Results showed that they shared a common female ancestor. As this study was based on captive-bred zoo specimens that had descended from only two females, these samples were not considered to be representative. Additionally, the wolf population in the Kashmir Valley is known to have recently arrived in that area. Subsequent genetic research showed that wolf samples from Tibet are genetically basal to the Holarctic gray wolf. Its MT-ND4L gene commences with the base pairs GTG, whereas all other canids commence with ATG. Results of whole genome sequencing showed that it is the most genetically divergent wolf.
Analysis of scat samples from two wolves collected in upper Dolpo matched the Himalayan wolf.Fecal remains of four wolves collected in the upper Mustang region of the Annapurna Conservation Area also fell within the Himalayan wolf clade but formed a separate haplotype from those previously studied.
The Himalayan wolf population in Tibet declined over the past 25,000 years and suffered a historical population bottleneck. Glaciation during the Last Glacial Maximum may have caused habitat loss, genetic isolation, and ancient inbreeding. The population in Qinghai had grown, though, showing a gene flow of 16% from Chinese indigenous dogs and 2% of the dingo's genome. It probably recolonised the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayan wolf contrasts with the wolves living at lower elevations in Inner Mongolia, Mongolia, and Xinjiang province. Some wolves in China and Mongolia also fall within the Himalayan wolf clade, indicating a common maternal ancestor and a wide distribution. There was evidence of hybridization with the grey wolf at Sachyat-Ertash in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan, and of introgression from either the grey wolf or the dog into the Himalayan wolf in Nepal.
A genomic study on the wolves of China included museum specimens of wolves from southern China that were collected between 1963 and 1988. The wolves in the study formed three clades: north Asian wolves that included those from northern China and eastern Russia, wolves from the Tibetan Plateau, and a unique population from southern China. One specimen located as far southeast as Jiangxi province shows evidence of being admixed between Tibetan-related wolves and other wolves in China.
|Phylogenetic tree of the extant wolf-like canids with timing in millions of years|
|Blue shading represents the species Canis lupus|
DNA sequences can be mapped to reveal a phylogenetic tree that represents evolutionary relationships, with each branch point representing the divergence of two lineages from a common ancestor. On this tree, the term “basal” is used to describe a lineage that forms a branch diverging nearest to the common ancestor.
The Tibetan Mastiff was able to adapt to the extreme highland conditions of the Tibetan Plateau very quickly compared to other mammals such as the yak, the Tibetan antelope, the snow leopard, and the wild boar. The Tibetan Mastiff's ability to avoid hypoxia in high altitudes, due to its higher hemoglobin levels compared to low-altitude dogs, was due to prehistoric interbreeding with the wolves of Tibet.
In 2011, the Indian wolf, Himalayan wolf, and African golden wolf were proposed to represent ancient wolf lineages, with the African golden wolf having colonised Africa prior to the Northern Hemisphere radiation of the Holarctic grey wolf.
Two studies of the mitochondrial genome of both modern and extinct grey wolves (Canis lupus) have been conducted, but these excluded the genetically divergent lineages of the Himalayan wolf and the Indian wolf. The ancient specimens were radiocarbon dated and stratigraphically dated, and together with DNA sequences, a time-based phylogenetic tree was generated for wolves. The study inferred that the most recent common ancestor for all other Canis lupus specimens – modern and extinct – was 80,000 years before present.An analysis of the Himalayan wolf mitochondrial genome indicates that the Himalayan wolf diverged between 740,000—691,000 years ago from the lineage that would become the Holarctic grey wolf.
Between 2011 and 2015, two mDNA studies found that the Himalayan wolf and Indian grey wolf were genetically closer to the African golden wolf than they were to the Holarctic grey wolf. grey wolf and 28% Ethiopian wolf ancestry. The Ethiopian wolf does not share the single-nucleotide polymorphisms that confer hypoxia adaptation with the Himalayan wolf. The adaptation of the Ethiopian wolf to living in high elevations may occur at other single-nucleotide polymorphism locations. This indicates that the Ethiopian wolf's adaptation has not been inherited by descent from a common ancestor shared with the Himalayan wolf.From 2017, two studies based on mDNA, and X-chromosome and Y-chromosome markers taken from the cell nucleus, indicate that the Himalayan wolf is genetically basal to the Holarctic grey wolf. Its degree of divergence from the Holarctic grey wolf is similar to the degree of divergence of the African golden wolf from the Holarctic grey wolf. The Himalayan wolf shares a maternal lineage with the African golden wolf. It possesses a unique paternal lineage that falls between the grey wolf and the African golden wolf. The results of these two studies imply that the Himalayan wolf distribution range extends from the Himalayan range north across the Tibetan Plateau up to the Qinghai Lake region in China’s Qinghai Province. In 2018, whole genome sequencing was used to compare members of the genus Canis. The African golden wolf was found to be the descendant of a genetically admixed canid of 72%
The Himalayan wolf has a thick, woolly fur that is dull earthy-brown on the back and tail, and yellowish-white on the face, belly, and limbs. It is about 110 cm (45 in) long and 76 cm (30 in) tall at the shoulder. It is larger than the Indian wolf. It has closely spaced black speckles on the muzzle, below the eyes, and on the upper cheeks and ears. It weighs about 35 kg (77 lb).
The heart of the Himalayan wolf withstands the low oxygen level at high elevations. It has a strong selection for RYR2, a gene that initiates cardiac excitation.
In China, the Himalayan wolf lives on the Tibetan Plateau in the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Tibet,and western Sichuan.
In northern India, it occurs in the Ladakh region of eastern Kashmir 70,000 km2 (27,000 sq mi). Between 2005 and 2008, it was sighted in the alpine meadows above the treeline northeast of Nanda Devi National Park in Uttarakhand. In 2013, a wolf was photographed by a camera trap installed at an elevation around 3,500 m (11,500 ft) near the Sunderdhunga Glacier in Uttarakhand's Bageshwar district.and in the Lahaul and Spiti region in northeastern Himachal Pradesh. In 2004, the Himalayan wolf population in India was estimated to consist of 350 individuals ranging across an area of about
In Nepal, it was recorded in Api Nampa Conservation Area, Upper Dolpa, Humla, Manaslu, Upper Mustang, and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area.The Nepal Himalayas provide an important habitat refuge for the Himalayan wolf.
The howls of the Himalayan wolf have lower frequencies, unmodulated frequencies, and are shorter in duration compared to Holarctic wolf howls. The Himalayan and North African wolves have the most acoustically distinct howls and differ significantly from each other and the Holarctic wolves.
Himalayan wolves prefer wild over domestic prey. They prefer the smaller Tibetan gazelle than the larger white-lipped deer, and they prefer the plains-dwelling Tibetan gazelle over the cliff-dwelling bharal. Supplementary food includes the small Himalayan marmot, woolly hare, and pikas. Himalayan wolves avoided livestock where wild prey is available, but habitat encroachment and the depletion of wild prey populations is forecast to lead to conflict with herders. To protect these wolves, securing healthy wild prey populations through setting aside wildlife habitat reserves and refuges will be important.Kiang, Siberian roe deer, Siberian ibex, Przewalski's horse, wild yak, argali, urial, markhor, Bactrian deer, Yarkand deer, and Tibetan red deer have also been recorded as prey species of Himalayan wolves.
Historical sources indicate that wolves occasionally killed children in Ladakh and Lahaul.Within the proposed Gya-Miru Wildlife Sanctuary in Ladakh, the intensity of livestock depredation, assessed in three villages, found that Tibetan wolves were the most important predators accounting for 60% of the total livestock losses, followed by the snow leopard and Eurasian lynx. The most frequent prey were domestic goats (32%), followed by sheep (30%), yaks (15%), and horses (13%). The wolves killed horses significantly more, and goats less, than would be expected from their relative abundance.
The wolf in Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan is listed on CITES Appendix I.In India, the wolf is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 , which prohibits hunting; a zoo needs a permission from the government to acquire a wolf. It is listed as endangered in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, where a large portion of the wolf population lives outside the protected area network. Lack of information about its basic ecology in this landscape is an obstacle for developing a conservation plan. In Nepal, it is protected under Schedule I of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 2029 (1973) prohibiting hunting it. In China, the wolf is listed as vulnerable in the Red List of China’s Vertebrates, and hunting it is banned.
In 2007, 18 Himalayan wolves were kept for breeding in two Indian zoos. They were captured in the wild and were kept at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in West Bengal, and in the Kufri Zoo in Himachal Pradesh.
There are 38 subspecies of Canis lupus listed in the taxonomic authority Mammal Species of the World. These subspecies were named over the past 250 years, and since their naming, a number of them have gone extinct. The nominate subspecies is the Eurasian wolf Canis lupus lupus.
The red wolf is a canine native to the southeastern United States which has a reddish-tawny color to its fur. Morphologically it is intermediate between the coyote and gray wolf, and is very closely related to the eastern wolf of eastern Canada.
Canis is a genus of the Caninae containing multiple extant species, such as wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals. Species of this genus are distinguished by their moderate to large size, their massive, well-developed skulls and dentition, long legs, and comparatively short ears and tails.
The eastern wolf, also known as the timber wolf, Algonquin wolf or eastern timber wolf, is a type of wolf native to the Great Lakes region and southeastern Canada, considered to be either a unique subspecies of gray wolf or a separate species from the gray wolf. Many studies have found the eastern wolf to be the product of ancient and recent genetic admixture between the gray wolf and the coyote, while other studies have found some or all populations of the eastern wolf, as well as coyotes, originally separated from a common ancestor with the wolf over 1 million years ago and that these populations of the eastern wolf may be the same species as or a closely related species to the red wolf of the Southeastern United States. Regardless of its status, it is regarded as unique and therefore worthy of conservation with Canada citing the population in eastern Canada as being the eastern wolf population subject to protection.
The Ethiopian wolf, also known as the Simien jackal or Simien fox, is a canid native to the Ethiopian Highlands. It is similar to the coyote in size and build, and is distinguished by its long and narrow skull, and its red and white fur. Unlike most large canids, which are widespread, generalist feeders, the Ethiopian wolf is a highly specialised feeder of Afroalpine rodents with very specific habitat requirements. It is one of the world's rarest canids, and Africa's most endangered carnivore.
The side-striped jackal is a canine native to central and southern Africa. Unlike the smaller black-backed jackal which dwells in open plains, the side-striped jackal primarily dwells in woodland and scrub areas.
The Mexican wolf, also known as the lobo, is a subspecies of gray wolf once native to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico. It is the smallest of North America's gray wolves, and is similar to C. l. nubilus, though it is distinguished by its smaller, narrower skull and its darker pelt, which is yellowish-gray and heavily clouded with black over the back and tail. Its ancestors were likely the first gray wolves to enter North America after the extinction of the Beringian wolf, as indicated by its southern range and basal physical and genetic characteristics.
Canid hybrids are the result of interbreeding between different species of the "true dog" tribe Canini, specifically in the Canina subtribe of wolf-like canids. They often occur in the wild, in particular between domestic or feral dogs and wild native canids.
The Italian wolf, also known as the Apennine wolf, is a proposed subspecies of grey wolf native to the Italian Peninsula. It inhabits the Apennine Mountains and the Western Alps, though it is undergoing expansion towards the north and east. As of 2019, the Italian wolf population is estimated to consist of 600–700 individuals. It has been strictly protected in Italy since the 1970s, when the population reached a low of 70–100 individuals. The population is increasing in number, though illegal hunting and persecution still constitute a threat. Since the 1990s, the Italian wolf's range has expanded into southwestern France and Switzerland. Although not universally recognised as a distinct subspecies, it nonetheless possesses a unique mtDNA haplotype and a distinct skull morphology.
The Arabian wolf is a subspecies of gray wolf which lives on the Arabian peninsula. It is the smallest wolf subspecies, and a desert-adapted subspecies that normally lives in small groups. It is omnivorous, eating carrion and garbage, as well as small to medium-sized prey.
The Indian wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf that ranges from Southwest Asia to the Indian Subcontinent. It is intermediate in size between the Himalayan wolf and the Arabian wolf, and lacks the former's luxuriant winter coat due to it living in warmer conditions. Within this subspecies, the "Indian plains wolf" is genetically basal to all other extant Canis lupus apart from the older-lineage Himalayan wolf, with both proposed as separate species. The Indian wolf travels in smaller packs and is less vocal than other variants of the grey wolf, and has a reputation for being cunning.
The Japanese wolf (Japanese: ニホンオオカミ is an extinct subspecies of the gray wolf that was once endemic to the islands of Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū in the Japanese archipelago. It is also known as the Honshū wolf. Its binomial name derives from the Greek Hodos and phylax, in reference to Japanese folklore, which portrayed wolves as the protectors of travellers. It was one of two subspecies that were once found in the Japanese archipelago, the other being the Hokkaido wolf.
The Vancouver Island wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf, endemic to northern Vancouver Island within the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. It lives in packs of about five to twenty. There are estimated to be less than 180 wolves on Vancouver Island.
In the taxonomic treatment presented in the third (2005) edition of Mammal Species of the World, Canis lupus dingo is a taxonomic rank that includes both the dingo that is native to Australia and the New Guinea singing dog that is native to the New Guinea Highlands. It also includes some extinct dogs that were once found in coastal Papua New Guinea and the island of Java in the Indonesian Archipelago. In this treatment it is a subspecies of Canis lupus, the wolf, although other treatments consider the dog as a full species, with the dingo and its relatives either as a subspecies of the dog, a species in its own right, or simply as an unnamed variant or genetic clade within the larger population of dogs. The genetic evidence indicates that the dingo clade originated from East Asian domestic dogs and was introduced through the Malay Archipelago into Australia, with a common ancestry between the Australian dingo and the New Guinea singing dog. The New Guinea singing dog is genetically closer to those dingoes that live in southeastern Australia than to those that live in the northwest.
The Beringian wolf is an extinct kind of wolf that lived during the Ice Age. It inhabited what is now modern-day Alaska, Yukon, and northern Wyoming. Some of these wolves survived well into the Holocene. The Beringian wolf is an ecomorph of the gray wolf and has been comprehensively studied using a range of scientific techniques, yielding new information on the prey species and feeding behavior of prehistoric wolves. It has been determined that these wolves are morphologically distinct from modern North American wolves and genetically basal to most modern and extinct wolves. The Beringian wolf has not been assigned a subspecies classification and its relationship with the extinct European cave wolf is not clear.
The megafaunal wolf was a Late Pleistocene – early Holocene hypercarnivore similar in size to a large extant gray wolf. It had a shorter, broader palate with large carnassial teeth relative to its overall skull size. This adaptation allowed it to prey and scavenge on Pleistocene megafauna. Such an adaptation is an example of phenotypic plasticity. It was once distributed across the northern Holarctic.
The African golden wolf is a canine native to North Africa and the Horn of Africa. It is the descendant of a genetically admixed canid of 72% gray wolf and 28% Ethiopian wolf ancestry. It occurs in Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Kenya, Egypt, and Tanzania. It is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. In the Atlas Mountains, it was sighted in elevations as high as 1,800 m (5,900 ft). It is primarily a predator, targeting invertebrates and mammals as large as gazelle fawns, though larger animals are sometimes taken. Its diet also includes animal carcasses, human refuse, and fruit. The African golden wolf is a monogamous and territorial species; offspring remain with the family to assist in raising their parents' younger pups.
The Mongolian wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf which is native to Mongolia, northern and central China, Korea, and the Ussuri region of Russia.
The evolution of the wolf occurred over a geologic time scale of at least 300 thousand years. The grey wolf Canis lupus is a highly adaptable species that is able to exist in a range of environments and which possesses a wide distribution across the Holarctic. Studies of modern grey wolves have identified distinct sub-populations that live in close proximity to each other. This variation in sub-populations is closely linked to differences in habitat – precipitation, temperature, vegetation, and prey specialization – which affect cranio-dental plasticity.
Canis mosbachensis, sometimes known as the Mosbach wolf, is an extinct small wolf that once inhabited Eurasia from the Middle Pleistocene era to the Late Pleistocene. It is widely accepted as the ancestor of Canis lupus, the gray wolf.
"Canis lupus himalayensis". NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Institutes of Health.