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Indian Wolf (Canis indica) - Wiki latin dict size=126   common dict size=512
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Indian Wolf (Canis indica) - Wiki

Indian Wolf
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Indian wolf -- possibly a new species. Source:

The Indian Wolf (Canis indica), also known as the Asiatic wolf, is a mammal of the order carnivora, originally thought to be a subspecies of the Grey Wolf. It is a semi-desert-adapted canid that ranges from the eastern Indian subcontinent to the Arabian Peninsula.

A current proposal suggests that the Indian Wolf has not cross-bred with any other wolf subspecies for nearly 400,000 years, which could possibly make them a separate species altogether from the grey wolf. British naturalist B. H. Hodgson was actually the first to describe an Indian Wolf as a separate species, Canis laniger, in 1847, but the wolf he was describing was indeed separate from today's modern Indian Wolf (he was instead describing the former Himalayan Wolf).

Another British naturalist, W. T. Blanford, working for the Geological Survey of India, described the modern Indian Wolf as a separate species called Canis pallipes in 1888. He distinguished Canis pallipes from Canis laniger by its smaller size, much shorter and thinner winter coat, and smaller skull and teeth. Furthermore, he identified Hodgson's Himalayan Wolf as nothing more than a subspecies of Gray Wolf (i.e., C. l. laniger, as opposed to C. laniger).

The confusion was sorted out in 1941 when British taxonomist R. I. Pocock classified both as separate subspecies of the Gray Wolf ??? C.l. pallipes and C.l. laniger, respectively. Today, the Himalayan Wolf originally identified by Hodgson in 1847 (C.l. laniger) has been stripped of its subspecies title and placed with the Eurasian Wolf (C.l. lupus), whereas the Indian Wolf {C.l. pallipes) has maintained its subspecies status, though this could, as previously mentioned, change as more genetic data is interpreted.

Lately research of the mtDNA of the Indian Wolf, formerly known as Canis lupus pallipes, confirms that this is a new species of wolf, now called the Canis indica, separate and distinct from other wolf species in the world. Now, along with Himalayan Wolf (Canis himalayaensis) scientists have created two new species of wolf on the grounds of mtDNA. Probably, the Indian wolf migrated to India about 400 thousand years ago, during the Pleistocene and separated from its common wolf ancestors. But other Indian wolves not from India but from the Arabian pennislula and Pakistan are included in the category of Grey Wolf and should be called the Southern-east Asian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes).

The Indian wolf is the most likely direct ancestor of the Dingo.

Appearance and adaptations
The Indian Wolf has a very short, dense coat that is typically reddish, tawny, or buff coloured. It reaches 60-95 centimetres in height, and typically weighs 18-27 kilograms, making it smaller than the Gray Wolf. Breeding generally occurs in October, after the rains ??? early compared to the grey wolf.

The Indian Wolf is adapted for life in the semi-arid and hot areas that they typically inhabit. Its relatively small size allows it to survive on the smaller ungulates, rabbits, hares, and rodents that roam its territory. The Indian Wolf is a prime example of the canid's adaptability as a species, given that its cousins can be found in areas starkly contrasted to the scrubland, grassland, and semi-arid pastoral environments that the Indian Wolf thrives in.

Though the Indian Wolf and the Indian Wild Dog have been portrayed as mortal enemies by author Rudyard Kipling in Red Dog, studies have shown that there is very little competition between the two species where they share common ground. The fact that the wolf inhabits open spaces and feeds primarily on rodents as a contrast to the dog's habit of living in dense forests and hunting medium sized ungulates is enough to ensure peaceful coexistence.

There are some allegations that they differ from the grey wolf by seldom howling.

The Indian Wolf is mainly distributed across the Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. A study released in 2004 estimates that there are around 2000-3000 Indian Wolves.

The Indian Wolf, because it preys on livestock, has long been hunted, though it is protected as an endangered species in India under schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. The Jai Samand Sanctuary, Rajasthan, is believed to be the only place in which the animal is breeding in captivity.

Israel seems to be the last hope for the Indian Wolf's survival in the Middle East because it is the only country in the region where they enjoy legal protection. There are between 150-250 wolves all over northern and central Israel. The biggest dangers to the wolves in Israel are the local dogs that interbreed with them, essentially contaminating the genetic purity of the subspecies.

Attacks on humans
Iran reports cases of wolves in winter carrying off children, and during a 2-year period (1996???1997) in Uttar Pradesh, wolves killed or seriously injured 74 humans, mostly children under the age of 10 years. The attacks were well documented by wolf authorities. One of the worst cases ever recorded occurred in 1878 in British India. During a one year period 624 people were killed by man-eating wolves.

The wolf, known in Turkey as the Bozkurt, was the main totem of ancient Turkish tribes and became the national symbol from the Hun to Ottoman Empire. Before the Turks adoption of Islam, a wolf’s head was used to be put on the tips of flag poles, replaced later by the crescent and star. In Turkish mythology, it is believed that the G??kt??rks were descended from a she-wolf called Asena, a legend paralleling the myth of Romulus and Remus. Also, a wolf was responsible for showing the Turks the way out of their legendary land locked mountain valley homeland Ergenekon.

In Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, the hero Mowgli is raised by a pack of Indian Wolves, and is one of the most popular of feral children in fiction.
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