Why an Ancient 800,000-Year-Old Wolf is Being Driven to Extinction

The elusive Himalayan wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, is an ancient animal. According to RelivEarth, the Himalayan wolf “might be the most ancient representative of the animals anywhere in the world” with a lineage that goes back 800,000 years. But a new study warns that 800,000 years of evolution in the making could abruptly come to an end without immediate conservation action in Nepal.

Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA)

Madhu Chetri, a graduate student at the Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, Norway, led the study published in the journal ZooKeys. The research took place in the Upper Mustang of Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). The Annapurna Conservation Area is one of Nepal’s most biodiverse regions with more than 1,000 species of flowering plants and hundreds of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians sprawled over 7,629 square kilometers.

The ACA is also diverse in its human inhabitants with more than 100,000 residents from a myriad of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The conservation area is unique in that it permits locals to “live within the boundaries as well as own their private property and maintain their traditional rights and access to the use of natural resources,” according to NTNC.

The conservation area is unique in a few other ways: The ACA is a nongovernment entity, with the bulk of funding coming from trekkers, tourists and donors, and the ACA doesn’t use the army to protect the area’s natural resources.

What’s Killing the Ancient Wolves?

Chetri’s team observed that high mortality rates are plaguing the ancient wolves. What’s killing the critically endangered species?

After the researchers interviewed countless herders, livestock owners, nomads and the village elite through a formal questionnaire survey and informal discussions, the cause of the high wolf mortality rates became clear. It’s no different than what kills countless gray wolves — and bears, coyotes, cougars, bison, etc. — in the United States: protecting livestock animals.

The team learned that “local communities persecuted wolves mainly in retaliation for livestock depredation” as the wolves threatened their livelihoods, explains ZooKeys.

The researchers acknowledge that “the conservation of this species in a context of human-wildlife conflict is challenging,” but the Himalayan wolf is worth protecting given its genetic distinctiveness and they “deserve special conservation attention.” Ultimately, the researchers call for an action plan that “develops mechanisms to minimize conflict, and strategies for motivating local communities towards wolf conservation.”

Take Action!

The Nepalese government has to get involved, particularly in the area of human-wolf conflict, if Himalayan wolf conservation is to become a reality. Possible solutions to start could include increased economic support and a military presence to protect the wolves. Sign and share this petition urging Nepal’s leaders and local conservationists to work together on an action plan to save the ancient Himalayan wolf.

Photo Credit: Kuribo

145 comments

Michael Friedmann

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn P14 days ago

Petition signed.

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Lorraine A
Lorraine A15 days ago

People, it always comes down to people!. We are such a horrible species. We should be nurturing and taking care of our planet and all that lives on it, instead we are destroying it at an alarming rate.

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Sue H
Sue H15 days ago

2018, I wonder how their recovery is progressing?

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Rob Chloe Sam N
Rob Chloe Sam N15 days ago

The most dangerous and invasive species to this planet is humans, All animals should have the right to live in peace without the fear of humans killing them all the time, We need to start protecting all animals at all costs, What kind of legacy are we leaving our future generations, All animals play a very important part in our ecosystem, We need our ecosystem for the survival of the human race, Wolves play a very important part in our ecosystem so we should be doing everything we can to protect them, Humans do not own this planet, But we are destroying it at a very alarming rate, Wake the hell up and start protecting it for our future generations and for the future generations of all innocent animals.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

Bhutan protects its tigers.

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Elisa F
Elisa F1 years ago

Signed in April. Please protect our Wolves!

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Angela K.
Angela K2 years ago

petition signed & shared

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Rosslyn O.
Rosslyn O2 years ago

Everything must be done to protect these precious wolves. It has clearly proven allowing the 'local people' to live within the Conservation Area with the wolves, (introducing their animals as a lure to the hungry wolf) ...is NOT WORKING! Please get the humans out!

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