Arctic wolf: the situation at the end of 2022



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Arctic wolf: the situation at the end of 2022

Arctic wolves, like all wolves, hunt in packs. They mainly prey on musk oxen, but also kill large numbers of arctic hares and lemmings, as well as other smaller animals. Their common prey is also made up of moose. Their long legs make these animals slower, which, in the soft snow, can also become trapped, thus becoming vulnerable to attacks by wolf packs.

Due to the scarcity of grazing plants, these animals are forced to roam over areas as large as 2,600 km² to find prey and follow the migrating caribou south during the winter. Recent footage from a BBC documentary shows that Arctic wolves also hunt ducks.

Normally, only the alpha male and female are allowed to mate, but in large herds other specimens can also do so. Because of the permafrost soil of the Arctic and the difficulty of burrowing in it, Arctic wolves often use rocky outcrops, caves, or any shallow depressions as dens.

The mother gives birth to two to three pups in late May and early June, about a month later than the gray wolves. It is generally believed that the number of pups lower than the average of 4 or 5 of gray wolves is due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic.

They are born after about 63 days. Cubs stay with their mother for 2 years.

Arctic wolf: the situation at the end of 2022

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 men are only very rarely encountered in their natural habitat.

The White Wolf Sanctuary is an arctic wolf refuge located in Tidewater, Oregon. The average wolf population at the sanctuary is 8-10 per 40 acres, and these animals also include some injured, sick, or abandoned individuals who have been rescued.

Arctic wolves are generally smaller than gray wolves, being roughly 1.5 to 1.8 m in length including tail; males are larger than females. Their height at the withers varies between 63/79 cm; arctic wolves are more robust than gray wolves and often weigh more than 45kg.

Adult males reach weights of 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.