- Red Wolf - an amazing species under the protection of the Red Book of Russia
- About red wolves: description and appearance
- Species and habitat
Red Wolf - an amazing species under the protection of the Red Book of Russia
A red wolf is a rather peculiar animal in appearance, which combines a wolf build and a fox fur coat. The red color of a wild beast can have more or less saturated tones, the intensity of the coloring depends on the habitat. Northern "residents" are distinguished by a muted color of wool, while southerners have a truly red color. Today, the number of wolves is constantly decreasing, which became the basis for their inclusion in the Red Book of all ranks.
About red wolves: description and appearance
About the red wolves the world learned thanks to the famous Rudyard Kipling, who described the animals as dogs with an original color . The first mention of the wolf was documented in the book The Jungle Book, where the author described the animals as a large and very powerful flock. By the way, Kipling's presentation of the behavior and lifestyle of predators was very realistic, since the red wolf is the only animal that lives in flocks of more than 30 individuals. In addition, wolves, hardened by harsh climatic conditions, are really very hardy.
Red Wolf combines the external characteristics of the wolf, jackal and fox at the same time. The animal is large enough, the length of its body reaches 120 cm, and the height at the withers is 60 cm. The average weight of the male is 22 kg, the females are more miniature in size, and their weight reaches 17 kg. The life expectancy of a wolf is about 13 years.
The red wolf differs from its "traditional" kindred with a color, a more magnificent fur coat and a long tail that reaches up to 60 cm. The animal has a narrower and more pointed head shape, high-set ears that have visual roundings on the vertex.
The characteristic color of wolves is the red color, however it has some differences depending on the habitat of the animals. A distinctive feature is the black color at the end of the tail. Puppies are born blind with a dark brown fur coat, which is converted to red wool by 3 months.
In winter, the coat of wolves becomes more fluffy and dense, in the summer, the hairline becomes noticeably coarser and shorter. A characteristic feature of the species is a smaller number of teeth than other wolves, as well as a larger number of nipples for feeding offspring (7-8).
Interesting facts about red wolves:
- In 2005, was issued a commemorative silver coin, in the image of which was a red predator. At the same time, a more expensive coin was developed in Kazakhstan, made of gold, weighing almost 8 grams. It also contained a picture of a wolf and an insert with diamonds;
- Wolves issue a special sound for their detachment, reminiscent of a whistle. It is easy to imitate, than the Indian hunters use to attract the beast;
- There is a statement that during the hunt the wolves blind the enemy with a stream of urine in the eyes;
- Animals are extremely talkative, they constantly whine or howl to maintain sound contact with each other;
- The species comes from mixing the blood of a gray wolf, a coyote and an oriental wolf. However, animals did not buy a red fur coat from their ancestors. Unusual coloring went to wolves in the course of evolution, which lasted more than 2 million years;
- Animals can read each other's facial expressions, which allows a deeper and more sensible communication between the members of the pack;
- The earliest drawings of red animals were found in caves of Europe more than 2,000 years ago;
- Wolves have a very developed nose, they are able to distinguish more than 200 million smells (compared to a man's nose can "handle" no more than 5,000 million fragrances), feel prey for many kilometers;
- Hungry members of the pack can eat up to 10 kg of meat at a time, which is a significant part of their own weight;
- During the victim's pursuit, red wolves can reach speeds of up to 58 km per hour. During a quick run, the speed of the animals reaches 34 km per hour. The usual way of moving wolves is the lynx, with which they move up to 10 km per hour;
- Wolves are very intelligent, they do not fall into traps set for them, they can not be taken by surprise. They can move like a shadow: growing from under the ground and hiding in an instant. Wolves are masters of virtuosic escape, they can jump up to 6 meters in length and sink even into ice water;
- Animals have developed intelligence and can overcome serious obstacles: in the Moscow zoo the wolf managed to escape, breaking a high fence, several ditches, the width of which exceeded 6 meters, as well as a wall 2.5 meters high.
Species and habitat
A red wolf is found on an extended territory, but the number of flocks in any of the habitats is critically small. The animal can be found in the open spaces, beginning with Altai and ending with the Malayan archipelago. The main habitat is the mountain and forest areas of South Asia. However, it is possible to meet a predator in the following territories:
- Northern Indochina;
- The Far East of Russia;
- Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan;
- Vietnam, Thailand;
Red Wolf is not a permanent resident in Russia. It is often found in the Far East of the country, but most likely the animal comes there from neighboring countries of China and Mongolia. There are no reliable facts about the fact that the beast lives in Russia all the time.
Although literally a century ago, a red predator could be found on the territory from the Uda River in the Khabarovsk region to the Stanovoi Range. Also, animals lived in the southern latitudes of Altai, met in the wooded Baikal and Primorye.
Features of the behavior of red wolves
Animals live in packs, the number of wolves in which exceeds 30 individuals. These are the largest predatory flocks. Among the wolves reigns hierarchy and submission. This helps the wolves to clearly distinguish their duties, share their powers and successfully hunt. Relations in a circle of flocks are strong and friendly.
The number of males in the flock is significantly larger than the females. This is due to the fact that males are more enduring, show better qualities when hunting, are able to protect the territory. The number of females is several times less, at least twice.
The head of the pack is the dominant male and his female. Reproduction in the pack is allowed only by the dominant pair. The rest of the members should take care of the offspring as their own, to get food and stand on the protection of the territory. Obligations within the flock can vary significantly: some wolves only hunt game, others - only watch the puppies.
Red predators often wander. They do not have a permanent home and struggle for territory. They lead a sedentary lifestyle only at the time of puppies' education and during the pregnancy of the female. As soon as the cubs can travel long distances, the pack leaves the "house".
Red beasts are "guests" of Russian zoos, including Moscow ones. They adapt well to the enclosed space, multiply well even in captivity. However, even constant contact with a person does not contribute to taming animals. The red wolf still remains a wolf and eschews communication with the staff of the zoo.
Reproduction of red wolves
Red predators create families for life, differ in fidelity and devotion. During pregnancy, females, males take the burden of hunting for themselves and provide partner with food.
The main place of the "lair" of the animal are natural shelters, which in the mountain system are very many: rocks, caves, grooves under the rocks. Pregnancy of the female lasts about 65 days, after which 6-8 puppies appear on the light. Parents take good care of the offspring, feed, warm and protect the babies. In addition to meat food, wolves use and vegetable products - a vitamin-rich mountain rhubarb.
At the 12th week of its development, puppies begin to open their eyes, they form teeth, they are ready to switch from mother's milk to meat food. At this age, children are very mobile, eager to leave the spaciousness of their caves, organize fun games.
At an early age, puppies begin to struggle for their position in the pack. This manifests itself in the form of carefree games, which, as they grow older, grow into serious battles. This is necessary in order to prove himself to the alpha male and get a higher position in the wolf hierarchy.
Already by two months, the stronger pups are starting to leave their shelter. After reaching half a year they can already take part in collective hunting. Wolves acquire a family at the age of 3-4 years. As a rule, the pack consists of several large families.
- Lives in the mountains, rises to 4,500 meters above sea level, most of the time the animals live in the alpine belt, middle forests and northeastern regions. In the open area the wolf will never settle, the animal tends to rocky areas and gorges. In search of food, it can sometimes appear in the forest-steppe;
- The wolf hunts during the day, has a well-developed sense of smell and hearing. To better smell the scent of the victim, wolves often jump up to 4 meters in length. Extraction of the predator can serve a variety of animals: from rodents to large antelopes;
- Wolves are able to develop a high speed, attack prey from behind. As a rule, predators do not kill the victim before they start devouring it. It is enough for them to immobilize artiodactyls, after which the wolves devour the intestines, liver and heart directly in front of the victim;
- The breeding season is at the end of winter. By the middle of spring, offspring are born. Wolves living in India can reproduce almost all year round.
Participation in the food chain
Learn about the red wolves will help their way of hunting. Like most predators, they attack the victim with a flock. Participation of all members may be necessary only when hunting for large prey - for example, antelope. To "catch" smaller game (hares, mice), animals resort to a single hunt. In the menu of red wolves, there is also food of vegetable origin, but its share in the total diet does not exceed 15%.
The main prey of the wolf:
- Deer - is a kind of a noble deer. Males are large enough and reach up to 3 meters in length. Annually the animal drops its horns and acquires new ones. Their size reaches up to 80 cm. Horns are covered with "twigs", with which you can determine the age of the animal. Horns of young individuals are often used in medicine;
- Mountain sheep - one of the largest representatives of wild rams, the growth of which reaches up to 2 meters with a weight of almost 200 kg. Excellent movement on the rocks, they have a forked hoof, with which they cling to smooth surfaces, like "cats" among climbers. The sheep have long, spiraled, horns. They exist, both in males and females;
- Musk deer - lives in coniferous forests, instead of horns has no less formidable weapons - sticking out of his mouth sharp fangs. Uses them as a duel projectile. The main food of the animal are lichens of various types. Kabarga is famous for the musk gland of males, which is often used in perfumery and medicine;
- Rhubarb - a large plant that reaches up to 3 meters in height. In the juicy leaves of rhubarb contains a large amount of vitamin A, ascorbic acid, essential trace elements and sugar. Rhubarb is an excellent assistant in the presence of digestive problems, is used as a restorative.
Red wolves attack very rarely on domestic cattle. Do not cause damage to agriculture and do not pose a threat to man.
Number and causes of extinction. Red Wolf and Red Book
Red Wolf Red Book is a vanishing sight. Already in the 19th century in Russia began to talk about a dramatically declining number of animals. However, the reasons for this phenomenon for a long time remained a secret, since animals were practically not studied. One of the fundamental factors was a sharp reduction in the habitat of animals.
To a sharp reduction in the number of wolves is related to a man who for a long time was fighting the predator, destroying it. Red Wolf, unlike a gray fellow, almost never bothered a man. He did not attack cattle, did not damage houses and enclosing territories, trying in every possible way to keep aside. However, the bad glory of the gray fellow led to a negative attitude towards wolves in general, so hunting was announced for some time on rare animals.
In addition, the competition for the red wolves was made by their gray counterparts, who forced predators to leave the food-rich provinces and to migrate to remote areas. Also, the reduction of the head of cloven-hoofed animals was detected, which reduced the food base of wolves.
Inclusion of predators in the red book allowed to slow the disappearance of the species. Some of the specimens were taken to the best zoos in the country, where the wolves mated and gave healthy offspring. The record holder was a couple from the Moscow zoo, which gave over 9 puppies over 9 years of life.
Another reason for the disappearance of the species is the recent discovery of American scientists who discovered a close relationship between the sound signals that red wolves and coyotes use. The fact is that due to a similar intonation, red predators take coyotes for their "own" and willingly mate with them.
This leads to the mixing of blood and the disappearance of red wolves, as a biologically separate species. Scientists are already developing measures for natural separation of two species to preserve the "pure" offspring.
Red wolves are not on top of the food chain, so they have different enemies in the animal kingdom. The main competition is made by gray wolves, which differ in their size and strength. Therefore, red predators are forced to roam in "free" from other predators, constantly changing their dislocation.
Not the last place in a sharp decline in the number of animals play dangerous diseases - plague and rabies. The rapid spread, which affects the entire flock, leads to a sharp reduction in the number of animals.
In addition to gray relatives, a family of felines - lynx, leopards, pumas and tigers - poses a threat to the species. It is known that wolves and felines do not like each other. Since the second species of predators has a large size and strength, the red wolves have no chance to resist and fight for the territory.
The situation is aggravated also by the fact that wolves and felines hunt the same game. There were cases when a flock of red wolves was fighting back the tiger, for example. The predator was forced to flee to a tree, but to hold the territory for a long time even a flock is beyond his power.
The wild animal is listed in the Red Book, the guarding activity for the rescue of the wolf is of an international nature. In addition to the Red Book, the wolf is included in the Appendix to the CITES Convention. In Russia, this animal is protected from the moment the wolf was listed in the Red Book of the USSR.
However, security measures today are ineffective, since the animal practically does not live on the territory of the country, only occasionally roaming on its expanses. To resume the wolf population, it is necessary to identify areas of Russia where the animal lives. Further, these areas should be populated with hoofed animals, so that the wolves do not have a deficit in food.
The Russian authorities are already taking measures to reduce the gray wolf population. For this, cardinal measures in the form of shooting are not used. Authorities use more humane methods - resettlement of schools in other regions where the red wolf does not live, catching of animals for the maintenance in zoos and other.
Modern measures are aimed at creating attractive conditions for the habitat of red wolves in those places of Russia, where they periodically wander. Also, extensive explanatory work is carried out among the population, which will prevent accidental shooting of red animals by local residents.
Red Wolf, photo