U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


WOLVES (Canis lupus)

William J. Paul, District Supervisor, USDA/APHIS, Animal Damage Control, Grand Rapids, Michigan 55744
Philip S. Gipson, Unit Leader, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-3501

Document Type Article


Two species of wolves occur in North America, gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus). During the 1800s, gray wolves ranged over the North American continent as far south as central Mexico. Gray wolves occupy boreal forests and forest/agricultural edge communities in Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan. Mech (1970) reported that gray wolves prey mainly on large animals including white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, caribou, elk, Dall sheep, bighorn sheep, and beaver. Gray wolves are highly social, often living in packs of two to eight or more individuals. The ability of wolves to kill cattle, sheep, poultry, and other livestock is well documented (Young and Goldman 1944, Carbyn 1983, Fritts et al. 1992).