The Wolf Intelligencer


Himalayan Wolf (Canis himalayensis)


All information from the Himalayan Wolves Project

Himalayan Wolf same as Tibetan Wolf 

Common Names: Tibetan Wolf

Overall population: unknown

Physical description:

Original range –
Current range – Nepalese Himalayas and high altitudes of the Tibetan plateau, Indian Himalayas and a few hybridized with grey wolves in Kyrgyzstan. Bhutan.

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Prey–  Kiang (Equus kiang), markhor (Capra falconeri), Himalayan blue sheep “bharal” “naur” (Pseudois nayaur), Argali (Ovis ammon), Tibetan gazelle “goa” (Procapra picticaudata), Thorold’s deer “white-lipped” (Cervus albirostris), Stoliczka’s mountain vole (Alticola stoliczkanus), Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana), woolly hare (Lepus oiostolus), plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica)

Non-prey Snow leopard “ounce” (Panthera uncia), Red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Tibetan “sand” fox (Vulpes ferrilata), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus)

Beautiful Birds of the Himalayas!
Common Raven (Corvus corax) Himalayan large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), Redshank (Tringa totanus), Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps himalayensis), Himalayan Snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus), Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus),
Yellow-breasted greenfinch (Chloris spinoides), Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Robin Accentor (Prunella rubeculoides), Streaked Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilloides), Black-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla adamsi), Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar), Fire-Fronted serin (Serinus pusillus), Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis), Tibetan Blackbird (Turdus maximus) Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus), Grandala (Grandala coelicolor), Plain Mountain finch (Leucosticte nemoricola). Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch (Carpodacus pulcherrimus), Himalayan Rubythroat (Calliope pectoralis), Tibetan Snowfinch (Montifringilla henrici)

Unique behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:


Himalayan Wolves Project

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

“a genetic adaptation to cope with the hypoxic stresses in the high altitude habitats”


Further Reading

Wolves in Tibet
Wolves in India
Wolves in Nepal
Wolves in China

Journal / Scientific Publications:

On the occurrence of the Himalayan Wolf Canis lupus, L. 1758 (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae) in the Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal; its existence confirmed through sign and visual evidence in Rolwaling Valley. Pandey BP, Thami SM, Shrestha R, Chalise MK. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2021 Jul


The Himalayan Wolf Canis lupus L., a top predator of the Third Pole, is proposed to be of a distinct wolf lineage (C. himalayensis) relative to the Holarctic Grey Wolf as described by mtDNA analyses. A biodiversity survey organized by the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCAP) has captured images of wolves in three different regions, and the study team has observed wolf scats in five additional regions above the tree line in Rolwaling Valley. Further, interviews with local herders provided evidence of wolf depredation of livestock in the area. The Rolwaling Valley in the Gaurishankar Conservation Area was the study area which was divided into 12, 4 x 4 km (16 km2) grid cells, each supplied with one camera trap operated continuously from June to November 2019 (only 6 out of 12 cameras functioned for the duration of our study). Wolf detections were recorded by camera traps from Yalung Pass (4,956 m), Tsho-Rolpa glacial Lake (4,536 m) and the Dudhkunda ridgeline (5,091 m). The photo capture rate index (PCRI) for wolves was 0.71. Our study reports the first photographic evidence of the Himalayan Wolf in the Rolwaling Valley.

Phylogeny and ecology of the Himalayan wolf (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford) Werhahn, G., 2020.

Perspectives of traditional Himalayan communities on fostering coexistence with Himalayan wolf and snow leopard. Kusi N, Sillero‐Zubiri C, Macdonald DW, Johnson PJ, Werhahn G. Conservation Science and Practice. 2019 Dec

Himalayan wolf foraging ecology and the importance of wild prey. Werhahn G, Kusi N, Li X, Chen C, Zhi L, Martín RL, Sillero-Zubiri C, Macdonald DW. Global Ecology and Conservation. 2019 Oct

Dietary spectrum in Himalayan wolves: comparative analysis of prey choice in conspecifics across high-elevation rangelands of Asia. Lyngdoh SB, Habib B, Shrotriya S. JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY. 2019 Aug

[HTML] Livestock depredation by snow leopard and Tibetan wolf: Implications for herders’ livelihoods in Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Bhutan
Y Jamtsho, O Katel – Pastoralism, 2019 Jan

Western Himalayan Forests in Climate Change Scenario
A Roy, P Rathore – Remote Sensing of Northwest Himalayan Ecosystems, 2018 Oct

The unique genetic adaptation of the Himalayan wolf to high-altitudes and consequences for conservation; Geraldine Werhahna, Helen Senn, Muhammad Ghazali, DibeshKarmacharya, Adarsh ManSherchan, Jyoti Joshi, Naresh Kusi, José Vincente, López-Bao, Tanya Rosen, Shannon Kachel, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, David W.Macdonald; Global Ecology and Conservation,  2018 Oct

Understanding Public Perceptions to Carnivores: Examining Communities in Upper Mustang, Nepal; A Upraity – 2018 Sep

[PDF] Conservation implications for the Himalayan wolf Canis (lupus) himalayensis based on observations of packs and home sites in Nepal
G Werhahn, N Kusi, C Sillero-Zubiri, DW Macdonald – Oryx, 2017 Sep

Phylogenetic evidence for the ancient Himalayan wolf: towards a clarification of its taxonomic status based on genetic sampling from western Nepal; Geraldine Werhahn, Helen Senn, Jennifer Kaden, Jyoti Joshi, Susmita Bhattarai, Naresh Kusi, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, and David W. Macdonald; The Royal Society 2017 Jun

[HTML] Snow leopard and Himalayan wolf: food habits and prey selection in the central Himalayas, Nepal; M Chetri, M Odden, P Wegge – PloS one, 2017 Feb

[HTML] Ancient Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) lineage in Upper Mustang of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal M Chetri, YV Jhala, SR Jnawali, N Subedi, M Dhakal… – ZooKeys, 2016 Apr

[HTML] Hypoxia adaptations in the grey wolf (Canis lupus chanco) from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; W Zhang, Z Fan, E Han, R Hou, L Zhang… – PLoS  2014 Jul

A survey of depredation and related wildlife-human conflicts in the Hemis National Park, Ladakh (India). Bhatnagaer YV, Stakrey RW, Jackson R. Bulletin of the International Snow Leopard Trust. 2000