Grey wolf

(Canis lupus, L., 1758)
The species is found in North America, Asia, Northern, Eastern, Southern, and partly Central Europe.

Distribution of the species

The species is found in North America, Asia, Northern, Eastern, Southern, and partly Central Europe. In Bulgaria at the beginning of 20th century it was spread throughout the country. In 1965-75, there remained only 110-130 individuals in 5 border zones. In the 80s an expansion started because of the ban on poisoning and the increase of wild hoofed animals (600-700 individuals). In 1996-1999 the population of the species reached about 1 000 individuals.

Description of the species (biological and ecological features)

Canis lupus prefers mountainous regions with forests, shrubs, rocks, gorges and meadows that are difficult to access by human. The family territory is 15 000 ha at the average, 25000 ha, respectively. During the breeding season it inhabits the mountains. In the autumn and until the middle of the winter it also goes down to the valleys. The species is monogamous and the couple is for the lifetime. Breeding animals in the packs are only the dominant couples. The mating season is in January-February. The cubs, 4-6 at the average, are born in April. In September the family pack (usually 5-8 wolves) gathers for the autumn-winter hunting. The basic prey consists of wild ungulates, sheep, carrion, dogs, goats, donkeys, etc. The wolf differs from dogs of the “wolf type” by the thick, non-crooked tail, the massive neck, the short and wide ears.

Conservation status


Conservation state

The wolf (Canis lupus) is a protected species included in Annexes 2 and 4 of the Biodiversity Act (BDA) and Annex II of the Bern Convention. The species is also included in Annex II of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in Annex II and Annex IV of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive).
The wolf is part of the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (2015) with category “Vulnerable” (VU) and also included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species with category Least Concern (LC).
*Note: For the description of vertebrates is used information from: Golemanski, V. & al. (eds). 2015. Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria. Vol. 2. Animals. BAS & MoEW, Sofia [English ed.: ISBN 978-954-9746-22-8 (IBER – BAS), 978-954-8497-18-3 (MoEW)]; the website of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).