Steppe Wolf (Canis lupus campestris)

Photo by Albert Salemgareev

Steppe Wolf (Canis lupus campestris) – (Dwigubski 1804)

Common Names: Caspian Sea Wolf, Caucasian Steppe Wolf

Overall population: unknown (endangered)

Physical description:
“Average dimensions are somewhat less than the Middle Russian Wolf, C. l. lupus. Pelage is shorter, coarser and sparser. Color of the sides is relatively light, gray, on the back rusty-gray or brownish with a quite strong admixture of black hairs.”
Heptner, V.G.; Naumov, N.P., eds. (1998). Mammals of the Soviet Union, Vol. II, Part 1a. Sirenia and Carnivora (Sea Cows; Wolves and Bears). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the National Science Foundation. pp. 188–189.

Original range -Native to the Caspian steppes, the steppe regions of the Caucasus, the lower Volga region, southern Kazakhstan north to the middle of the Emba, the northern Urals, and the steppe regions of the lower European part of the former Soviet Union. It may also occur in northern Afghanistan and Iran and occasionally the steppe regions of Romania and Hungary.
Current range -south-western portion of Russia that borders the northern half of the Caspian Sea.

Habitat / Ecology/ Prey:
Habitat – ” Great Steppe” ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome
   -Global Warming
Prey – Steppe wolves feed on Caspian seals (Pusa caspia), herd ungulates, livestock, rodents, fish and berries.

Unique behaviors:
Steppe wolves have been documented to kill Caspian seals (Documented near Astrakahn, Russia). They are also known to prey on livestock and domestic animals of nomads.
Rumyantsev, V. D. and L. S. Khuraskin. 1978. New data on the mortality of the Caspian seal due to wolves. Page 187 in Congress of the All-Union Theriological Society, 2nd (P. A. Panteleev, et al. eds.). Nauka, Moscow, USSR.

Legal and Cultural Background:
The Canis lupus campestris has been hunted as a nuisance for years. It is listed as endangered in the Mongolian Red List of Mammals (2007), and can now only be found in a far south-western part of Russia along the Caspian Sea.

Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK)Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative,

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:


Further Reading

Journal / Scientific Publications: 

Complete mitochondrial genome of Canis lupus campestris

Protective immune response of oral rabies vaccine in stray dogs, corsacs and steppe wolves after a single immunization; K Zhugunissov, Y Bulatov, D Taranov, Z Yershebulov… – Archives of Virology, 1 August 2017