Kars, Canada

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The Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island wolf4 is a possible subspecies of gray wolf native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.4 It is a medium-sized subspecies, distinguished from the northwestern wolf by its smaller size, its whiter coloration, its narrower braincase,5 and larger carnassials.6 Since 1930, there has been a progressive reduction in size in Arctic wolf skulls, which is likely the result of wolf-dog hybridization.6

The Arctic wolf is relatively unafraid of people, and can be coaxed to approach people in some areas.7 It has occasionally acted aggressively toward humans. Otto Sverdrup wrote that during the Fram expedition, a pair of wolves attacked one of his team-mates, who defended himself with a skiing pole.8 In 1977, a pair of scientists were approached by six wolves on Ellesmere Island, with one animal leaping at one of the scientists and grazing a cheek. A number of incidents involving aggressive wolves have occurred in Alert, Nunavut, where the wolves have lived in close proximity to the local weather station for decades and become habituated to humans.9

The Arctic wolf was first described as a distinct subspecies by British zoologist R. I. Pocock in 1935, after having examined a single skull from Melville Island.6 As of 2005,10 the Arctic wolf is still recognized as a distinct subspecies by Mammal Species of the World (MSW3). However, studies undertaken on Arctic wolf autosomal microsatellite DNA and Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data indicate that the Arctic wolf has no unique haplotypes, thus indicating that its colonization of the Arctic Archipelago from the North American mainland was relatively recent, and thus not sufficient to warrant subspecies status.11 However, the research of Chambers et al. (2012) that dismissed the Arctic wolf’s genetic integrity became controversial, forcing the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to commission a peer review of it, known as the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) (2014).12 This peer review highlighted numerous flaws in the research such as the erroneous merging of the coastal British Columbia island wolves with the inland Canis lupus nubilus as well as suggesting that gray wolves never lived in the eastern third of the US, etc.,[clarification needed] and thus concluded unanimously that the Chambers’ review “is not accepted as consensus scientific opinion or best available science”.

Image taken in Quebec, Canada.

Canon DSLR EOS 60D
ISO 250

Americas – Rural, Urban, Wild & Free Group,
Mother Natures Finest Group.
This, That and the Other Thing Group

Artwork Comments

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