The four species of wolves are the Gray, Red, Ethiopian and Eastern. Among these four groups, about 32 subspecies are thought to exist. As a result of losing habitat and clashing with humans, some species are considered endangered. Only a few hundred animals remain in some species.
The Red Wolf is recognisable by its grey-black coat with hints of red. It is, on average, 26 inches tall at the shoulder and up to 5.5 feet long. It weighs 22.7 to 36.3 Kilogram. Historically, the species ranged across the southeastern United States as far west as Texas. Hunting brought the Red Wolf to the brink of extinction before the forestry service in 1980 collected about 20 purebred animals from the wild. These animals were used to start a breeding program which by 2007 had produced a population of 207 captive wolves and 100 wild wolves.
The Ethiopian Wolf is a small, slight breed with a red coat. The breed is about 24 inches tall at the shoulder and about 4.5 feet long. It weighs 24 to 44 pounds. Its natural habitats are mountainous areas above 10,000 feet. The species is considered endangered, with only a few small groups found in seven mountain ranges in Ethiopia. Despite efforts to protect the species, numbers still are decreasing; fewer than 500 are thought to exist in the wild.
The Himalayan Wolf is thought to be a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. It is large with a thick, grey-black coat. It stands as tall as 32 inches at the shoulder, is as long as 6.5 feet and weighs 55 and 130 pounds. The species is considered critically endangered, with an estimated wild population of just 350. Its home range is in northern India, into the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
The Mexican Wolf is a small subspecies of Gray Wolf. Its colouring is similar to that of the Gray. It is about 32 inches tall at the shoulder and 5.5 feet long. It weighs 60 to 80 pounds. The species once existed from the southern United States into central Mexico. Hunting and habitat loss drove the Mexican Wolf to near extinction, leaving only captive specimens. A program was started in 1998 to reintroduce the species. By 2008, 50 animals successfully had been returned to the wild, with 200 in captivity.
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