The Wolf Intelligencer


Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus filchneri)

Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus filchneri) – (Gray 1863); same as Himalayan Wolf

Common Names: n/a. The wolves of Tibet were first described by British zoologist Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1847 as Canis lupus laniger. German zoologist Paul Matschie  named the Tibetan Wolf Canis filchneri . Filchner was a German explorer who led an expedition from China to Tibet in 1903-1905.

Overall population: unknown

Physical description: Lupus laniger. The Changu of the Tibetans. Hab. Tibet. Wolf with long sharp face, elevated brows, broad head, large pointed ears, thick woolly pilage, and very full brush of medial length. Above, dull earthy-brown; below, with the entire face and limbs yellowish-white. No marks on the limbs. Tail concolorous with the body, that is brownish above and yellowish below, and no dark tip. Length 45 in (110 cm). Height 30 in (76 cm). This animal is found all over Tibet.

Description of the wild ass and wolf of Tibet. Hodgson BH. (1847) Calcutta Journal of Natural History 7: 469–477

Original range -Native to China in the regions of Gansu, Qinghai, and Xichang (Tibet
Current range China in the regions of Gansu, Qinghai, and Xichang (Tibet). Found in northern India in the Ladakh region of eastern Kashmir, and the Lahaul and Spiti region in the northeastern part of Himachal Pradesh, Nepal in the Upper Dolpa and Upper Mustang regions.

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
PreyDomestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), mountain sheep “argali” (Ovis ammon), domestic sheep (Ovis aries), yaks (Bos grunniens), horses (Equus ferus caballus), wild yaks (Bos Mutus). Tibetan antelope “chiru” (Pantholops hodgsonii; Tibetan: གཙོད་, Wylie: gtsod, pronounced [tsǿ]; Chinese: 藏羚羊; pinyin: zànglíngyáng), Thorold’s deer (Cervus albirostris)

Interesting  behaviors:
Black wolves in Tibet are known locally as “chanko nagpo”, and these wolves are considered bolder and more aggressive than the pale coloured variety. (??) ( The Tibetan Wolf. Pages 339–340 in: The great and small game of India, Burma, and Tibet. R. Ward, London.)

Legal and Cultural Background:

Wild Tibet (London, UK)
Chang Tang Tibet – WCS Global Conservation Program
Tibet | WWF

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:


Further Reading

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Sympatric snow leopards and Tibetan wolves: coexistence of large carnivores with human-driven potential competition
A Bocci, S Lovari, MZ Khan, E Mori – European Journal of Wildlife …, 2017 – Springer

The geographical distribution of grey wolves (Canis lupus) in China: a systematic review; Lu WANG, Ya-Ping MA,, Qi-Jun ZHOU, Ya-Ping ZHANG, Peter SAVOLAINEN, and Guo-Dong WANG

Habitat segregation between sympatric Tibetan argali Ovis ammon hodgsoni and blue sheep Pseudois nayaur in the Indian Trans‐Himalaya. Namgail T, Fox JL, Bhatnagar YV. Journal of Zoology. 2004 Jan


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