- Russian Wolf
name = Russian Wolf
status = LC
image_width = 200px
phylum = Chordata
genus = "
species = "C. lupus"
subspecies = "C. l. communis"
trinomial = "Canis lupus communis"
trinomial_authority = Schreber, 1775
range_map_width = 250px
range_map_caption = Russian wolf range
The Russian Wolf ("Canis lupus communis") is a subspecies of
Grey Wolfwhich occurs in north-central Russia. It is one of five grey wolf subspecies present in the Russian Federation, which includes the Eurasian Wolf, the Caspian Sea Wolf, the Tibetan Wolfand the Tundra Wolf.
The Russian wolf is large by grey wolf standards, with an average weight of 55 kg and a range of 30-80 kg for males and an average of 45 kg and a range of 23-55 kg for females. [ [http://www.tunturisusi.com/wolf/ Wolf - Canis lupus - Finnish and Russian wolf ] ]
Wolves in Russia are abundant and highly successful
keystone predators in areas devoid of humans, to the extent that the Russian government considers them to be overpopulating. When working in packs, they will hunt large ungulates such as Chamois, Maral, Wild Boarand Moose. Wolves will compete with tigers for limited prey, so their numbers tend to go down when tigers are re-introduced. [http://www.savethetigerfund.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/Community/GeneralPublic/TigerSubspecies/AmurSiberianTigers/default.htm]
Wolves in Russia have been known to be more aggressive toward humans than their
North American cousins, [ [http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolf_attacks_on_humans.html Wolf Attacks On Humans ] ] [ [http://www.russianhunting.com/wolf-hunting-in-russia/ Russia Wolf Hunt ] ] with numerous attacks being reported, particularly in rural areas where the populace relies heavily on livestock and lacks effective means of defense.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the newly formed
sovietgovernment worked heavily to eradicate wolves and other predators during an extensive land reclamation program. There was no room for the wolf or any other predator in their plans, so government officials instructed the Red armyto exterminate predators on sight; a project that was carried out very efficiently, resulting in the extinction of the Caspian Tiger. During The Great Patriotic War, when the Russian government focused its attention on repelling the Naziinvasion, Wolf populations were given some respite, and actually increased.
After the defeat of
Germany, the USSR focused on rebuilding its territories, thus resuming the wolf exterminations. The USSR destroyed 42,300 wolves in 1945, 62,700 wolves in 1946, 58,700 wolves in 1947, 57,600 in 1948, and 55,300 in 1949. From 1950 until 1954, an average of 50,000 wolves were killed annually. The wolf survived mostly because of the vast amount of territory devoid of humans. The first actual Soviet studies on wolves were limited to finding new ways of destroying them. From the 1970s to the 1990s, attitudes began to change in a way which favored protecting the wolf.
Government backed wolf exterminations have been largely discontinued since the fall of the
Soviet Union. As a result, their numbers have stabilized somewhat, though they are still hunted legally. It is estimated that nearly 15,000 of Russia's wolves are killed annually for the fur trade and because of human conflict and persecution. Due to the new capitalist government's focus on economy, and other issues plaguing the former communistnation, the study of wolves has been largely discontinued from lack of funding. [ [http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolf_russia_history.html Wolf Song of Alaska: A History of Wolves in Russia ] ]
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