Author: Adam Holmes.
When most people hear the phrase “endangered species,” a slew of exotic animals come to mind. Among the ranks of these endangered beasts are monkeys, tigers, elephants, and unbeknownst to many people, dogs.
In such a domesticated world, it’s hard to imagine life without canine companions. But, many of them are facing extinction, and without our help, could disappear from this planet forever.
Unfortunately, it’s the wolves out there whose numbers are dwindling. There are other breeds around the world that are in danger, but none have it as rough as wolves. And although work is being done to preserve their populations, there are still quite a few out there that need some extra TLC.
The Maned Wolf is native to South America and is known as one of the world’s tallest dogs. Standing almost four feet tall from floor to shoulder, the Maned Wolf uses its height to navigate the sizable grasslands of its native habitat. Although larger than many other breeds, Maned Wolves are known to be skittish when provoked, rendering them non-threatening to most humans.
Even though they belong to an entirely different genus, Maned Wolves have been likened to oversized red foxes due to their reddish-brown or golden-orange coats. Unlike foxes though, Maned Wolves often hesitate to form packs, which makes conservation difficult, but not necessarily impossible.
Conservationists have recommended more captive breeding to ensure the diversity of the gene pool. This, along with more dedicated Maned Wolf sanctuaries in South America and abroad, will keep the population in healthy supply and better guarantee success for these wolves for many years to come.
The Ethiopian Wolf’s population is relatively under control compared to other endangered breeds, but even with strong numbers comes grave danger. There are close to 500 individuals currently roaming around Ethiopia, but because of the lay of the land, they have been broken into several different, fragmented groups that rarely come into contact with one another.
With only a few wolves in each group, this fragmentation greatly increases the chances of inbreeding and other genetic mutations. And if that’s not bad enough, Ethiopian Wolves are notorious for being picky eaters, which deters them from leaving their mountainous habitat to find alternate food sources.
Fortunately for them, a majority of the six main groups live under protected care and can look forward to a new national park that’s currently underway. However, conservationists have already lost one subpopulation and are worried that they’ll lose one or two more before the park reaches completion.
Unlike other endangered breeds, the Red Wolf was one of the only ones to be previously at risk of extinction. Rampantly hunted and crossbred with Coyotes in the mid-1900s, Red Wolves were almost wiped out completely. But, after decades of conservation efforts, their population is stronger than ever before.
With almost 120 in the North Carolina wilderness, and nearly 200 in captive breeding programs, the Red Wolf seems to be making a comeback, but there’s much work to be done. One of the main challenges the wolves, not to mention conservationists, face is the general public’s frequent slaying of them during Coyote and night hunts.
Since Red Wolves and Coyotes bear certain similarities, hunters often kill them accidentally, but the Red Wolf Coalition and other advocate groups are working to prevent this. Citations are now issued in the case of a Red Wolf death, but they unfortunately still have a long way to go before they can be stricken from the list of endangered breeds.
The battle for conservation may be on the rise, but it’s going to take effort from people everywhere to win the war. Whether the problem is solved by instituting stricter hunting regulations or creating more breed awareness remains to be seen. But what’s apparent now is that something needs to be done to protect these amazing animals once and for all.
Author Bio: Adam Holmes is a writer for wireless dog fence provider, Havahart Wireless and staunch wolf advocate. He knows that they can be problematic for farmers, but he assures people that they have their place in the wild.