The Wolf Intelligencer

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." John Muir

Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs)

Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs) – (Pocock 1934)

Common Names: Desert Wolf

Overall population: unknown

Physical description:
The Arabian Wolf is small, adapted to the desert environment. Its ears are proportionally larger in relation to its frame to help disperse and release body heat. Typically stands around 26 inches (66 cm) shoulder height and weighs an average of 40 pounds (18.14 kg). The fur of the Arabian Wolf is short and thin in summer but with longer back hairs to help radiate and control the impact of solar heat on their backs. Their winter coats are longer but not as dense and long as the North American or Eurasion Grey wolf. Unlike other grey wolves, the middle two toes of an Arabian wolf’s paws are fused.

Life and Behavior of Wolves: The Arabian or Desert Wolf. S. Benson. UK Wolf Conservation Trust. 2009

Range:
Original range – Originally distributed throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Current range – Small pockets in southern Israel (Negev desert), southern and western Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and some parts of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

“These wolves occupy arid flats and mountains throughout deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Jordan and Israel.” 

Group size and home range of the Arabian wolf (Canis lupus) in southern Israel; R Hefner, E Geffen – Journal of Mammalogy, 1999

“We conducted a pilot study to survey the carnivore guild in the St Katherine Protectorate, the largest Egyptian national park and a hotspot for biodiversity and conservation in an arid environments. Three species were detected using both camera trapping and morphological identification of scats: Red fox, Striped hyena and Arabian wolf, while through genetic analysis we were able to confirm the presence of Blandford fox as well. Arabian wolf appeared to be the most elusive and rarer species and should be a conservation priority.”

A pilot study to survey the carnivore community in the hyper-arid environment of South Sinai mountains. Gecchele LV, Bremner-Harrison S, Gilbert F, Soultan A, Davison A, Durrant KL. Journal of Arid Environments. 2017 Jun

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – Desert, Sand Dunes, Gravel plains, Rocky hills
Ecology

PreyArabian gazelle (Gazella arabica), Arabian oryx “white oryx” (Oryx leucoryx), (domestic and wild) ibexes, Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana), Dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas), wild boar (Sus scrofa), cape hares (Lepus capensus), rodents, rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), fish (Cyprinion mhalensis),

“Arabian wolves are largely omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. A detailed analysis of 777 wolf scats in the southern Negev Desert revealed that 51.4% contained vegetative material, 37.2% human garbage, and 62.5% hair from cow carcasses (Shalmon, 1986). Only 6.3% of scats contained native mammals (gazelles, hares), excluding small rodents. Carrion was obtained at pits where dead livestock were frequently dumpe”

Group size and home range of the Arabian wolf (Canis lupus) in southern Israel; R Hefner, E Geffen – Journal of Mammalogy, 1999

Trees and Flora
Acacia (Vachellia raddiana), (Vachellia tortilis), (Plicosepalus acaciae), madonna lily (Pancratium sickenbergeri)

Yotvata NR comprises six vegetation belts (Baharav 1980), of which only the Vachellia (formerly Acacia)-Anabasis community occurs within the G. arabica enclosure. The community is dominated by Vachellia raddiana and V. tortilis, accompanied by the semi-parasite Plicosepalus acaciae, and a number of shrubs such as Hammada salicornica, Anabasis articulata, Ochradenus baccatus, and Lycium shawii (Baharav 1980).”

Factors driving Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) in Israel to extinction: time series analysis of population size and juvenile survival in an unexploited population. Shalmon B, Sun P, Wronski T. Biodiversity and Conservation. 2020 Jan

When in sand dunes in the Negev desert of Israel, the gazelles fed on a single plant species, the madonna lily (Pancratium sickenbergeri). In summer, when all live plant material is subterranean, the gazelles dug holes in the sand to remove the stem and bulb. After the winter rains, only the tips of the leaves that had emerged above ground were eaten.”

Forging at different spatial scales: Dorcas gazelles foraging for lilies in the Negev Desert. Ward D, Saltz D. Ecology. 1994 Jan

Interesting  behaviors:
“..wolves have become habituated to humans (Hefner and Geffen 1999) and being opportunistic omnivorous foragers (Biquand et al. 1994, Hefner and Geffen 1999) with a high reproductive rate (Furley 1985) may ensure their survival in an otherwise marginal environment.”
Arabian wolf distribution update from Saudi Arabia. Cunningham PL, Wronski T. Canid News. 2010 Dec

Legal, Economic and Cultural Background:

Conservation:
Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Nature Iraq (Baghdad and Erbil)
ESO Environmental Society of Oman
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA)

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION

Further Reading

Wolves in Israel ,Wolves in Iraq, Wolves in Oman, Wolves in Yemen, Wolves in Jordan, Wolves in Saudi Arabia, Wolves in Egypt
International Wolf Center: Asia
The Arabian Wolf – UK Conservation Trust “Life and Behavior of Wolves – The Arabian or Desert Wolf “
Arabian Wolf Distribution Update from Saudi Arabia – Canid Specialist Group 2010
Ibex Reserve – Protected Areas of Saudi Arabia
Mahazat as – Sayd – Protected Areas of Saudi Arabia

Journal Articles / Scientific Publications:

Factors driving Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) in Israel to extinction: time series analysis of population size and juvenile survival in an unexploited population. Shalmon B, Sun P, Wronski T. Biodiversity and Conservation. 2020 Jan

Geographic distribution patterns of melanistic Arabian Wolves, Canis lupus arabs (Pocock), in Saudi Arabia (Mammalia: Carnivora). Zafar-ul Islam M, Boug A, Shehri A, da Silva LG. Zoology in the Middle East. 2019 Apr

Conservation challenges for the Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) in the Western Highlands of Arabia. Zafar-ul Islam M, Boug A, Judas J, As-Shehri A. Biodiversity. 2018 Oct

A pilot study to survey the carnivore community in the hyper-arid environment of South Sinai mountains. Gecchele LV, Bremner-Harrison S, Gilbert F, Soultan A, Davison A, Durrant KL. Journal of Arid Environments. 2017 Jun

A standardized framework for examination of oral lesions in wolf skulls (Carnivora: Canidae: Canis lupus)
L Janssens, L Verhaert, D Berkowic… – Journal of …, 2016

Genetic variation and subspecific status of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) in Saudi Arabia
TC Bray, OB Mohammed, TM Butynski…Biology-Zeitschrift für …, 2014

Mammals of the genus Canis Linnaeus, 1758 (Canidae, Carnivora) in Egypt
MA Saleh, MI Basuony – Egyptian Journal of Zoology, 2014

Conflicting management policies for the Arabian wolf Canis lupus arabs in the Negev Desert: is this justified?
O Cohen, A Barocas, E Geffen – Oryx, 2013

Conflicting management policies for the Arabian wolf Canis lupus arabs in the Negev Desert: is this justified?. Cohen O, Barocas A, Geffen E. Oryx. 2013 Apr

Arabian wolves persist in the Tuwayq Mountains of Saudi Arabia. Al Haza QS, Wronski T. Wildlife Middle East News. 2012 Mar

Re-introductions in today’s Arabian Peninsula: The first steps for a grander vision?
MRS Price – Zoology in the Middle East, 2011

Global hotspots in the Arabian Peninsula
DP Mallon – Zoology in the Middle East, 2011

Effects of an exceptional drought on daily activity patterns, reproductive behaviour, and reproductive success of reintroduced Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx). Ismail K, Kamal K, Plath M, Wronski T. Journal of arid environments. 2011 Feb

Arabian wolf distribution update from Saudi Arabia. Cunningham PL, Wronski T. Canid News. 2010 Dec

Blanford’s fox confirmed in the At-Tubaiq Protected Area (northern Saudi Arabia) and the Ibex Reserve (central Saudi Arabia). Cunningham PL, Wronski T.Canid News. 2009 Jun

Evidence for the persistence of Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in the Ibex Reserve, Saudi Arabia and its preferred prey species
T Wronski, W Macasero – Zoology in the Middle East, 2008

“Dietary composition of the wolf Canis lupus in the Ein Gedi area according to analysis of their droppings (in Hebrew)”. Proceedings of the 45th Meeting of the Israel Zoological Society. Margolis, E. (2008).

Reintroduction of the Arabian oryx Oryx leucoryx in Jordan: war and redemption
LE Harding, OF Abu-Eid, N Hamidan, A al Sha’lan – Oryx, 2007

Critically Endangered Arabian leopards Panthera pardus nimr persist in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, Oman
JA Spalton, HM Al Hikmani, D Willis, ASB Said – Oryx, 2006

Checklist and status of the terrestrial mammals from the United Arab Emirates
P Low Cunningham – Zoology in the Middle East, 2004

[PDF] Canidae in the Sultanate of Oman
A Spalton – Canid News, 2002

Vertebrate fauna of Sabkhat from the Arabian Peninsula: a review of Mammalia, Reptilia and Amphibia
RA Loughland, PL Cunningham – Sabkha ecosystems. Kluwer …, 2002

The carnivores of the northeastern Badia, Jordan
F BUNAIAN, A HATOUGH… – Turkish Journal of …, 2000

Group size and home range of the Arabian wolf (Canis lupus) in southern Israel; R Hefner, E Geffen – Journal of Mammalogy, 1999 –

Arabian oryx reintroduction in Oman: successes and setbacks
JA Spalton, MW Lawerence, SA Brend – Oryx, 1999

Mammals of the Harrat al-Harrah protected area, Saudi Arabia
PJ Seddon, Y Heezik, IA Nader – Zoology in the Middle East, 1997

Red list of mammals for the United Arab Emirates
R Hornby – Tribulus, 1996

Fishes as diet of a wolf (Canis lupus arabs) in Saudi Arabia
S Biquand, V Urios, A Boug, C Vila..  1994

MOVEMENTS OF A RADIO-COLLARED WOLF (CANISLUPUS PALLIPES) IN THE NEGEV HIGHLANDS, ISRAEL. Afik DA, Alkon PU. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution. 1983 May

The mammalian remains from the Jericho Tell
J Clutton-Brock – Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 1979

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