The Wolf Intelligencer

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

Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes)

Indian/Iranian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) – (Sykes 1831)

Common Names: Indian Wolf, Iranian Wolf

Overall population: Unknown. Estimated at 2,000-3,000.

Physical description:
“Its coloration varies from grayish red to reddish white, with a touch of grey, many of the hairs being black tipped; there is generally black on the back, especially a V-shaped patch behind the shoulders. The limbs are paler than the body. The tail slightly or decidedly tipped with black. The underparts of the body are more or less white.”
[Mivart, G. (1890), Dogs, Jackals, Wolves and Foxes: A Monograph of the Canidæ, London: R.H. Porter : Dulau, pp. 9-10]

Original range – Widespread throughout the Holy Land east and west of the Jordan River into the Indian Subcontinent.
Current range – Holy Land to the Indian Subcontinent including, India, Nepal, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria?, Afghanistan. and Bhutan?


Where wolves live depend on wild ungulateprey, their habitat is that of their prey (Mech andBoitani, 2003). However, in Bhutan it is found to be occupying alpine zone above 4000m above sea level (DoFPS, 2012)
PDF] Prey Preference and Dietary overlap of Sympatric Snow leopard and Tibetan Wolf in Central Part of Wangchuck Centennial National Park
Y Jamtsho

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:

Habitat: Thorn forests, scrub-lands, arid and semi-arid grassland habitats and agro-pastoral regions of semi-arid India.



Antelope- Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus pallas), Indian gazelle “chinkara” (Gazella Bennettii), Indian antelope “blackbuck (Antelope cervicapra) , Tibetan antelope “chiru” (Pantholops hodgsonii) , chital (Axis axis) hares, rodents, livestock (goats and sheep)

Non-Prey, Wildlife and Other Predators / Carnivores

Interesting behaviors:

Legal, Economic and Cultural Background:

Middle East;  Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria?, Afghanistan.
Asia; Bhutan?, India, Nepal

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

Our study of mitochondrial DNA diversity across three different taxonomically informative domains i.e., cytochrome-B gene, 16S rDNA and hypervariable d-loop control region revealed HW to be genetically distinct from the GW as well as from all other wolves of the world, including C. lupus chanco from China. Most importantly, d-loop haplotypic diversity revealed both HW and GW from India to be significantly diverse from other wolf populations globally and showed that these represent the most ancient lineages among them. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the Indian wolves as two independent lineages in a clade distinct and basal to the clade of all wolves from outside of India.
Ancient origin and evolution of the Indian wolf: evidence from mitochondrial DNA typing of wolves from Trans-Himalayan region and Pennisular India. Aggarwal RK, Ramadevi J, Singh L.Genome Biology. 2003 Jun

Indian/Iranian Wolf
Wolves in Bhutan, India, Nepal, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria?, Afghanistan.

Further Reading

Sykes, William H. (1831). “Catalogue of the Mammalia of Dukun (Deccan); with observations on the habits, etc., and characters of new species”. Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London 1830–1831. London: Zoological Society of London.

Sharma, D. K.; Maldonado, J. E.; Jhala, Y. V.; Fleischer, R. C. (2004). “Ancient wolf lineages in India”. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 271 (Suppl 3): S1–S4

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Characterising the harmonic vocal repertoire of the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes)./ Sadhukhan S, Hennelly L, Habib B. PloS one. 2019

Indian Grey Wolf: first photographic record of Canis lupus pallipes from Papikonda National Park in northern Eastern Ghats, India. Shankar A, Salaria N, Balaji K, Shameer TT. ZOO’S PRINT. 2019 Apr

Identifying suitable habitat and corridors for Indian Grey Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in Chotta Nagpur Plateau and Lower Gangetic Planes: A species with differential management needs. Sharma LK, Mukherjee T, Saren PC, Chandra K. PloS one. 2019 Apr

Characterising the vocal repertoire of the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). Sadhukhan S, Hennelly L, Habib B. BioRxiv. 2019 Jan

Detecting hybridization between Iranian wild wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) and free-ranging domestic dog (Canis familiaris) by analysis of microsatellite markers
R Khosravi, HR Rezaei, M Kaboli – Zoological Science, 2013 –

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 – Taylor & Francis

Ecology of Indian Wolf, canis lupus pallipes sykes, 1831, and modeling its potential habitat in the great Indian bustard sanctuary, Maharashtra, India
B Habib – 2007

Mitochondrial DNA coding region sequences support the phylogenetic distinction of two Indian wolf species; RK Aggarwal, T Kivisild, J Ramadevi… – Journal of Zoological …, 2007

Distribution, status and conservation of Indian gray wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in Karnataka, India; M Singh, HN Kumara – Journal of Zoology, 2006

Foraging ecology, economics and conservation of Indian wolves in the Bhal region of Gujarat, Western India. Jethva BD, Jhala YV. Biological Conservation. 2004 Apr

[HTML] Ancient origin and evolution of the Indian wolf: evidence from mitochondrial DNA typing of wolves from Trans-Himalayan region and Pennisular India
RK Aggarwal, J Ramadevi… – Genome …, 2003

Predation on blackbuck by wolves in Velavadar National Park, Gujarat, India. Jhala YV. Conservation Biology. 1993 Dec

The status and conservation of the wolf in Gujarat and Rajasthan, India. Jhala YV, Giles Jr RH. Conservation Biology. 1991 Dec

MOVEMENTS OF A RADIO-COLLARED WOLF (CANISLUPUS PALLIPES) IN THE NEGEV HIGHLANDS, ISRAEL; DA Afik, PU Alkon – Israel journal of zoology, 1983 – Taylor & Francis; DA Afik, PU Alkon – Israel journal of zoology, 1983

notes on breeding the Indian wolf Canis lupus pallipes at Jaipur Zoo; RN Yadav – International Zoo Yearbook, 1968



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