The Wolf Intelligencer

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

Mongolian wolf (Canis lupus chanco)

Mongolian Wolf (Canis lupus chanco)

Common Names: саарал чоно, “Chono”

Overall population: unknown

Physical description:
“The fur fulvous, on the back longer, rigid, with intermixed black and grey hairs; the throat, chest, belly, and inside of the legs pure white; head pale gray-brown; forehead grizzled with short black and grey hairs. Hab. Chinese Tartary. Called Chanco. The skull is very similar to, and has the same teeth as, the European wolf (C. lupus). The animal is very like the Common Wolf, but rather shorter on the legs; and the ears, the sides of the body, and outside of the limbs are covered with short, pale fulvous hairs. The length of its head and body are 42 in (110 cm); tail 15 in (38 cm).”
Gray, J. E. (1863). “Notice of the Chanco or Golden Wolf (CANIS CHANCO) from Chinese Tartary”. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 94.

Original range – Mongolia, northern and central China, Korea
Current range – Mongolia, northern and central China, Korea. Expansion into the Üssüri Müren region of Russia. Bounded in the east by the Altai mountains/Tien shan mountains with the Eurasion Wolf (Canis lupus lupus) and in the south by the Tibetan Plateau with Himalayan/Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus filchneri).

“It is most commonly found in taiga habitats in Hentii and Hövsgöl mountain ranges, … eastern steppe habitats.. “

Mongolian Red List of Mammals. Zoological Society of London, London. Clark EL, Munkhbat J, Dulamtseren S, Baillie JE, Batsaikhan N, King SR, Samiya R, Stubbe M. English and Mongolian. 2006.

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat –
Mongolian Forest-Steppe, Mongolian Boreal Forest- Taiga, Mongolian Desert Steppe

Ecology –

Prey -=
Mongolian gazelle, tsagaan zeer (Procapra gutturosa) saiga antelope, taar bokhon (Saiga tatarica), Mongolian wild horse “Przewalski’s horse,” takhi aduu (Equus ferus przewalskii), Siberian ibex, angir yamaa (Capra sibirica), argali, arkhar (Ovis ammon ammon), Red deer, haliun buga (Cervus elaphus sibiricus), Siberian roe deer, bor göröös (Capreolus pygargus tianschanicus) Tarbagan marmot (Marmota sibirica), Alashan ground squirrel (Spermophilus alashanicus), Mongolian wild ass, hulan aduu (Equus hemionus hemionus), Bactrian camel, havtgai temee (Camelus bactrianus ferus), Siberian musk deer, adanga hude (Moschus moschiferus),  Yakutia moose, moltsog handga (Alces alces pfizenmayeri), sable, bulga (Martes zibellina) Yarkand gazelle, khar suultii (Gazella subgutturosa yarkandensis), Siberian forest reindeer, saa bug (Rangifer tarandus valentinae), Wild boar (English), zerleg gakhai (Sus scrofa nigripes) Raccoon dog, zagal elbinkh  (Nyctereutes procyonoides ussuriensis), corsac fox, khyars uneg, kirsa or kiresa (Vulpes corsac scorodumovi), Red fox, shar uneg  (Vulpes vulpes daurica), Wolverine, nokhoi zeekh (Gulo gulo), Eurasian otter, goliin khaliu (Lutra lutra) beech marten (Martes foina intermedia), Eurasian badger, khalzgai dorgo (Meles meles leptorhynchus), mountain weasel, solongo uen (Mustela altaica raddei), Stoat or ermine, tsagaan uen (Mustela erminea mongolica), Steppe polecat, omkhii khuren (Mustela eversmanni), Least weasel, khotnii uen (Mustela nivalis kerulenica), Siberian weasel, modnii uen (ustela sibirica sibirica), Marbled polecat, ereen khuren (Vormela peregusna pallidior), shrews, voles, jerboa, hamsters

Gobi bear
(Ursus arctos gobiensis), Brown Bear (Urus arctos baikalensis) Snow leopard (Uncia uncia), Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), Central Asian lynx (Lynx lynx isabellinus), Asiatic wildcat (Felis lybica ornata),

Beautiful Birds of Mongolia!
common raven (Corvus corax), carrion crow (Corvus corone), Siberian jay(Perisoreus infaustus), azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus), Mongolian ground jay (Podoces hendersoni), Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), Siberian Crane(Grus leucogeranus), Relict / Central Asian gull (Ichthyaetus relictus), greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus),     SEE MORE

Unique behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:

Legal status: Listed under CITES Appendix II, with an export quota of 150 skins and skulls in 2005 (UNEP-WCMC, 2006). Trophy hunters can purchase a hunting license to export trophies, from which $225 USD is allocated to the government (MNE, 2005). According to the Mongolian Law on Reinvestment of Natural Resource Use Fees, a percentage of this fee is designated to conservation efforts (Wingard and Zahler, 2006). There are no laws to protect this species from household or industrial hunting, no closed seasons and no quota limits. Approximately 13% of the species’ range occurs within protected areas, however, wolf protection within protected areas is rarely enforced, and exceptions are made in some areas to protect rare wildlife and livestock.”

“Dominant threats: Unsustainable hunting remains the dominant threat, as its skins are of commercial value and all body parts (including the tongue, spleen, ankle bones, and teeth) are used in traditional medicines, and it is also hunted as a sport (Mech and Boitani, 2004; Wingard and Zahler, 2006). Regarded as a pest species as it preys on livestock, and is therefore consequently persecuted. Of a survey of 949 hunters throughout the country, almost 40% (321) claim to hunt wolves (Wingard and Zahler, 2006).”

Mongolian Red List of Mammals. Zoological Society of London, London. Clark EL, Munkhbat J, Dulamtseren S, Baillie JE, Batsaikhan N, King SR, Samiya R, Stubbe M. English and Mongolian. 2006.


The Nature Conservancy (Тосон Hulstai байгалийн нөөц газар, Mongolia)
Wildlife Conservation Society – Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia )
Зэрлэг амьтан хамгаалах нийгэмлэг – Монгол
WWF: Нүүр хуудас
World Wildlife Fund – Mongolia
Nomadic Nature Conservation
International Takhi-Group Wolf Research
Улсын Тахь Группээс

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:


Further Reading
Wolves in Mongolia – Монголулс
Wolves in Russia -Россия
Wolves in China – 中国
Wolves in Tibet – བོད
Pastoralism in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, China

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Corrigendum to: Livestock depredation by large carnivores in the South Gobi, Mongolia
TN Mijiddorj, JS Alexander, G Samelius, R Badola… – Wildlife Research, 2018 –

Phylogenetic evidence for the ancient Himalayan wolf: towards a clarification of its taxonomic status based on genetic sampling from western Nepal
G Werhahn, H Senn, J Kaden… – Royal Society …, 2017

Desert pastoralists’ negative and positive effects on rare wildlife in the Gobi
LS Ekernas, WM Sarmento, HS Davie… – Conservation …, 2017

Wearing a wolf’s ankle bone on the belt and showing one’s virility. Analysis of a Buddhist concept of «life force»(hiimor’) among Mongolian hunters.
B Charlier – Eprouver le religieux/Sensing religion, 2015

Measuring and mapping the influence of landscape factors on livestock predation by wolves in Mongolia
HS Davie, JD Murdoch, A Lhagvasuren… – Journal of Arid …, 2014

Echinococcus species from red foxes, corsac foxes, and wolves in Mongolia
A Ito, G Chuluunbaatar, T Yanagida, A Davaasuren… – Parasitology, 2013 –

Wolves in Trans-Himalayas: 165 years of taxonomic confusion
S Shrotriya, S Lyngdoh, B Habib – Current Science, 2012

Two temporalities of the Mongolian wolf hunter
B Charlier – Space and Time in Languages and Cultures …, 2012

Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem: Toward a Narrative Ecology of the Grassland of Contemporary Inner Mongolia
J Varsava – Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and …, 2011

Wolf predation among reintroduced przewalski horses in Hustai National Park, Mongolia
C Van Duyne, E Ras, AEW De Vos… – The Journal of …, 2009

[PDF] National Pedigree Book of Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus chanco)
A Srivastav, P Nigam – New Delhi, India: Wildlife Institute of India …, 2009

The Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area in Mongolia-refuge or sink for wolves Canis lupus in the Gobi
P Kaczensky, N Enkhsaikhan, O Ganbaatar, C Walzer – Wildlife Biology, 2008

Seasonal fluctuations of the wolf diet in the Hustai National Park (Mongolia)
JPM Hovens, K Tungalaktuja – Mammalian Biology, 2005

[PDF] Rangelands of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Conservation Park, Mongolia.
DJ Bedunah, SM Schmidt – Rangelands Archives, 2000

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