Gray Wolves – Animal Park at Conservators Center
Eurasian Lynx
August 6, 2019
August 8, 2019

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

Gray Wolves

Canis lupus

The gray wolf, Canis lupus, is the largest extant member of the genus Canis and possess highly advanced social behavior. Wolves are a highly adaptable and resilient species and are the progenitor of the domestic dog, C. l. familiaris. Like its cousin, the red wolf, the gray wolf is distinguished from other wild canids by its larger size, less pointed features, and its more gregarious nature.

Range Map: Gray Wolf

Gray wolf range. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 2010. Canis lupus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3

Originating in the Pleistocene and once the world’s most widely distributed mammal, its traditional range encompassed North America, Eurasia, and Africa, making it the only member of Canis to encompass both Old World and New World territory. Today the gray wolf is extinct in much of Western Europe and North America, though their reintroduction to public lands in the United States has repatriated wolves to several areas. The gray wolf’s original worldwide range has been reduced by roughly 33% by deliberate persecution, mainly due to fear of attacks on humans and conflict with agriculture. 

Continued threats include competition with humans for livestock and game species, exaggerated concern by the public regarding the threat and danger of wolves, and fragmentation of habitat, with resulting areas becoming too small for populations with long-term viability.

The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates (caribou, elk, bison, and deer), though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage. It is a cursorial predator, meaning that it chases its prey until exhaustion rather than ambushing or trying to overwhelm prey quickly.


Students, Cite This Page!

Use the tabs below to select the citation format you need.
Conservators Center, INC. Gray Wolves. Published 2022. Accessed Tuesday, 05/21/2024
Conservators Center, INC. (2022). Gray Wolves. [WEBSITE]
Conservators Center, INC. "Gray Wolves." The Animal Park at the Conservators Center, 21 May 2024,
Conservators Center, INC. (2022). Gray Wolves. [WEBSITE] Available from: [Tuesday, 21 May 2024]
Conservators Center, INC. (2022). Gray Wolves [WEBSITE]. 2022 [cited Tuesday, 21 May 2024 Available from:

Meet the Animal Park's Wolves