Canis lupus (Linnaeus 1758) Wolf
Hebrew name: זאב, ze’ev
Global Threat: NT – Near Threatened
Regional Threat: VU (D1,2) – Vulnerable
Distribution area: Natural areas in Israel where human population is sparse: denser sub-populations are found in the Golan, Judean Desert, Negev and Arava.
Historic distribution: Throughout Israel (Mendelssohn & Yom-Tov 1988, Mendelssohn & Yom-Tov 1999). Ilani (1979) estimated that there were 110-150 wolves living in Israel in the 1970s.
Typical Habitat: All habitats except cliffs or shifting sands.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Poisoning and shooting resulting from conflicts with herders and livestock growers.
3. Rabies epidemics.
Population Size: Several hundred wolves, mainly in the Golan, Judean Desert, Negev and Arava.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The Mediterranean region population is small, although in the Golan it has grown in the past years to between 50 and 90 wolves (Alon Reichman, pers. comm.); the population in the desert region grew since the 1970s: an inspection of about 200 km. of dirt roads in the northern Arava, yielded 180 wolves in one night in 1993 (Mori Hen, pers. comm.). Ilani (1979) estimated the population in that same area, in the 1970s, at 25.
Isolation between Subpopulations: Apparently none. Wolves are very mobile, and wolves with transmitters attached covered 150 km in a few days (Hefner 1997).
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Prevention of poisoning and shooting by herdsmen by providing suitable compensation for wolf predation of cattle and support for the development of protective measures.
2. Prevention of rabies spread by vaccinating canids orally.
3. Removal of animal carcasses to garbage dumps, as they are a food source that encourages predator population growth that is dependent on human activity instead of on the natural carrying capacity of the area.