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Wolves of the World

Europe at a glance

Wolves once existed throughout much of Europe.  Conflicts with humans and fears originating from religious beliefs, myths and folklore influenced human attitudes towards wolves and, as a result, wolves have been persecuted for hundreds of years. 

Currently, wolves are found in many European countries, although range lines are not depicted in the map above.  Wolf numbers in Europe are increasing and wolf range is expanding due to the wolf's adaptability, changes in land use, increases in wild prey populations, and conservation efforts.

Current wolf management issues in Europe include persistent conflict between wolves and humans (depredation, poaching) as well as indifference or negative attitudes toward wolves, free-ranging dogs and wolf-dog hybridization, and isolated or small populations of wolves.

Main prey in this region generally consists of ungulate species, including livestock.  Legal status, population numbers and trends vary country to country.

Species Information

Common Names: gray wolf, ujku (Albanian), vuk (Croatian), vlk (Czech), ulv (Danish and Norwegian), wolf (Dutch and German), hunt (Estonian), susi (Estonian and Finnish), loup (French), farkas (Hungarian), lupo (Italian), wilk (Polish), lobo (Portuguese and Spanish), lup (Romanian), vlk dravý (Slovakian), volk (Slovene), varg (Swedish), kurt (Turkish), волк (Russian)
Latin Name: Canis lupus

Subspecies 1
Common Names: tundra wolf, Eurasian Arctic wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus albus

Subspecies 2
Common Name: 
Latin Name: Canis lupus communis

Subspecies 3
Common Name: Italian wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus italicus

Subspecies 4
Common Name:
Latin Name: Canis lupus lupus

Subspecies 5
Common Name: 
Latin Name: Canis lupus pallipes

Subspecies 6
Common Name: Iberian wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus signatus

Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of wolves: 13,000 not including Russia; numbers may be lower or higher due to insufficient research in several countries
Population trend:  Increasing and areas are expanding
Legal protection:  Protected in many countries, considered a game species in some; persecution or poaching in rural areas occurs despite protection

Most recent data available: 2013

Human Relationships

Wolf Human Interactions

The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans (pdf)