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June 18, 2019

Yuki: A Happy Wolf That Lives With Humans


The gray wolf, grey wolf, or common wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest extant member of the dog family of mammals, the Canidae. Though once abundant over much of Eurasia, North Africa and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a reduced portion of its former range due to widespread destruction of its habitat, human encroachment, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation.

Although the species still faces some threats, it is relatively widespread with a stable population trend and has therefore been assessed as Least Concern by IUCN since 2004. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to population control or extermination as threats to livestock, people, and pets. They occur primarily but not exclusively in wilderness and remote areas.


The gray wolf has a slender but powerful build. Its head is large and heavy, with wide foreheads, strong jaws and long and blunt muzzles. The ears are relatively small and triangular and the limbs are long and robust, with comparatively small paws. The animal’s size varies depending on the region, with northern wolves being larger. Despite its name, the gray wolf’s coat color ranges from almost pure white to black. Wolves are social predators that live in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, their offspring and, occasionally, adopted immature wolves.

Wolves communicate over long distances by howling. Other forms of communication include growls, barks, whines and various body postures. Wolves primarily feed on ungulates, which they hunt by wearing them down in short chases.

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