The first scientific population estimate of Indian peninsular wolves (canis lupus pallipes), known to be more than a million years older than all other wolf species in the world, has revealed that only 3,100 members of the species are left in the country.
This makes them almost as endangered as tigers, whose estimated population in the country is around 2,967.
Both tigers and wolves are classified under “schedule I” of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 as endangered.
The study was conducted by Doon-based Wildlife Institute of India. The highest concentration of wolves is currently in Madhya Pradesh (772), followed by Rajasthan (532), Gujarat (494), Maharashtra (396) and Chhattisgarh (320). Being a million years older than others, Indian wolves hold a unique place in the wolfevolutionary history.
“This ancient wolf lineage is threatened by habitat loss due to development, hybridisation with dogs, fast traffic roads, diseases, and severe persecution. Their status is as precarious as that of the tiger but focused conservation efforts are still lacking,”said the study, authored by YV Jhala, dean, WII.
Study said India had “no conservation or action plan” but urgently needed one to save the wolves.