Category: Carnivores

Location: Foot Safari

About Iberian Wolves

Iberian wolves are also known as Spanish wolves, as they originate from Northern Spain and Portugal, and are a sub-species of the better-known grey wolf. Knowsley Safari is home to sisters Maria and Morena. Iberian Wolves typically live in a pack with up to 7 members. There is always a dominant male and female who are the only breeding pair within the pack and young wolves leave their pack at around 2-3 years old.

The current Iberian wolf population is around 2,500, but they are threatened due to both illegal hunting and legal hunting above the River Duero. Although they are seen as pests by some people, they are crucial to the environment. They prey on smaller animals which can damage the vegetation in forests if their populations are not properly controlled.

Our wolves can be found in Wolf Country on the Foot Safari in a wide-open space with trees and shrubs like their natural habitat. Make your way to the viewing area and see the wolves up close.

Name: Iberian Wolf

Location: Northern Portugal and Spain

Population: 2,000+

Status: Near Threatened

Threats: Humans interference with habitat, farmers, hunting, forest fires

Fun facts about Iberian Wolves

Want to impress your pack with some fierce knowledge about Iberian wolves whilst on the safari? Check out these fun facts about Iberian wolves and listen out for their distinctive howl on the foot safari.

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    Iberian wolves are medium-sized predators weighing between 30kg to 40kg
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    Wild populations are considered ‘near threatened’, which means they are at risk of becoming extinct in the near future
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    They have a 63-day gestation and give birth to litters between 4 and 6 pups
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    A wolf howl can be heard over a mile away. They use distinctive calls to protect their territory from rivals and call to other pack members
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Iberian Wolf facts - Your questions answered!

Iberian Wolves are native to Northern Spain and Portugal.

Their habitat is a mixture of woodland and scrub-land that provides cover to give them opportunities to hunt.

They eat meat and play a huge part in the population control of wild boar, deer and wild rabbits which can have a detrimental impact on forests and woodland. 

Wolves are opportunistic and although they prefer to hunt, they will eat carrion (dead animals).

Their exploitative nature also means that even fruit is on the menu.

An Iberian wolf’s behaviour is like both hunter and scavenger. In the fairytales, wolves are often seen as the enemy and are persecuted because they are seen as a threat to livestock. This has pushed these beautiful animals to the brink of extinction, when in fact wolves are hugely important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem!

They live in forests, mountains and cold, dry grasslands called steppes. Their habitat is a mixture of woods and scrub-land as it offers the perfect cover for them to hunt.

An Iberian wolf’s height from the floor to their shoulders is around 70cm and they are 123cm long from their head to the base of their tail.

In the wild, the Iberian wolf’s lifespan is 6-8 years.

Their scientific name ‘signatus’ means marked. So, as the name suggests, they have dark marks on their tail and front legs, as well as white marks on their upper lips. However, the Iberian wolf is slightly smaller than other Eurasian wolves.

Head to Wolf Country on the Foot Safari to see our beautiful Iberian wolves up close.

Conservation of Iberian Wolves

Because Iberian wolves were legally hunted for so long, wild populations are considered ‘near threatened’ which means they’re at risk of becoming extinct in the near future. However, legally protecting them from hunting has allowed their numbers to steadily increase so they can now be found in the Northern parts of Spain and Portugal.

 

To maintain healthy populations, educating local people and farmers about these predators will be hugely important to the future of Iberian wolves. This means debunking the myths from countless fairytales!

 

Learn more about conservation at Knowsley Safari.

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