The Arctic Wolf at the White Wolf Sanctuary, Oregon

The sanctuary's average population of wolves is 8-10 per 40 acres and among these animals there are also some injured, sick or abandoned individuals who have been rescued

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The Arctic Wolf at the White Wolf Sanctuary, Oregon

The arctic wolf and the wood wolf are the only subspecies of gray wolf that can still be found throughout their original range. This is due to the fact that humans only rarely meet in their natural habitat. The White Wolf Sanctuary is an Arctic wolf refuge located in Tidewater, Oregon.

The sanctuary's average population of wolves is 8-10 per 40 acres and among these animals there are also some injured, sick or abandoned individuals who have been rescued. Due to the scarcity of grazing plants, these animals are forced to wander over vast areas even more than 2,600 km² to find prey and follow migrating caribou south during the winter.

Recent footage from a BBC documentary shows Arctic wolves also hunt ducks.

Arctic Wolf

Arctic wolves, like all wolves, hunt in packs. They mostly prey on musk oxen, but they also kill large numbers of arctic hares and lemmings, as well as other smaller animals.

One of their common prey is also constituted by the elk; their long legs make these animals slower, which, in soft snow, can also become trapped, thus becoming vulnerable to attack by wolf packs. Their height at the withers varies between 63/79 cm; Arctic wolves are more robust than gray wolves and often weigh over 45 kg.

Adult males reach weights up to 70kg, females 45 / 50kg. Arctic wolves usually have small ears, which helps them retain body heat. Their life expectancy is generally between 7-10 years. Arctic wolves are generally smaller than gray wolves, having approximately 1.5 to 1.8 m in length including the tail.

Males are larger than females. Due to the permafrost soil of the Arctic and the difficulty of burrowing there, Arctic wolves often use rocky outcrops, caves or any shallow depression as burrows; the mother gives birth to two to three cubs between the end of May and the beginning of June, about a month later than the gray wolves.

It is generally believed that the number of pups to be lower than the average of 4 or 5 for gray wolves is due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic. They are born after about 63 days. The wolves stay with their mother for 2 years.