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Gray Wolf

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Federally Listed Endangered Species

 
Genus species Canis lupis
Description The gray wolf, also called the Eastern timber wolf, is the largest undomesticated member of the canid family. Fur coloration generally is gray, with a lighter underside, but can vary from pure white to jet black.
Weight Males: 57-102 lbs, Females 46-75 lbs
Body length 41-63 inches
Habitat Wolves occupy a wide range of habitats where large ungulates, including elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer or moose are found. In Midwestern states, habitats currently used by wolves range from mixed hardwood-coniferous forests in wilderness and sparsely settled areas, to forest and prairie landscapes dominated by agricultural and pasture lands. Home range sizes of wolves vary, depending on prey density and pack size. In Minnesota, winter home ranges of wolves averaged 30- 59 square miles.
Breeding Season Late winter
Gestation Period 63 days
Litter size 6
Status in North Dakota Rare. Occasional sightings. No known breeding population
Food habits Deer, elk, moose, beaver, other smaller animals.

Conservation Issues

Habitat According to Licht and Fritts (1994), wolves could recolonize portions of their former range on the prairie in the Dakotas. However, the agricultural dominated landscape (cropland, hayland and pasture) and relatively high densities of roads would facilitate negative encounters between wolves and humans, which could preclude their re-establishment.
Other Natural or Manmade Factors The greatest hindrance to recolonization of wolves in North Dakota is their vulnerability to killing by humans. For example, the major documented threat to wolves in the Dakotas was killing by humans due to allegedly mistaken identity as coyotes. Licht and Fritts (1990) noted that relatively high road densities in eastern North Dakota would increase the likelihood of wolf-vehicle collisions. Furthermore, human tolerance for wolves likely would be low because livestock production is a major industry in North Dakota.