About half of the diet of both wolf subspecies found in India — the woolly or Himalayan wolf and the Indian wolf — is made up of domestic lifestock, according to a recent study.
About Himalayan wolf and the Indian wolf
- The woolly wolf is heavily dependent upon the domestic prey items in the Himalayan region. Livestock such as yak, Dzo cow, goat and sheep were the most consumed mammals in its diet, compared to sparsely distributed wild prey.
- The Indian wolf primarily preyed upon medium-sized mammals relating to the availability of blackbuck, chinkara, and especially livestock such as sheep and goat.
- The Indian wolf-bearing states (Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana) have the highest goat and sheep population.
- The study also found that the home range of the woolly wolf, found in the trans-Himalayas, is eight times larger than that of the Indian wolf, found in peninsular India.
- The study found no differences in the howling parameters of these subspecies. It also found that the skull of the woolly wolf was significantly longer and broader than the Indian wolf.
- The large ranges of the woolly wolf could be due to sparsely distributed prey species and suitable habitat continuity.
- The Indian wolf, on the other hand, survives in patchy, fragmented habitat within high human-dominated landscapes.
- Much confusion has existed among taxonomists and scientists about whether the woolly and Indian wolves are separate species from the gray wolf (Canis lupus) or are subspecies.
- The woolly wolf also ranges over the Tibetan Plateau, Central Asia and Mongolia.
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