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Himalayan Legend

Updated: June 5, 2010 12:30 pm

The Himalayan wolf is a critically endangered canid species, and is now regarded to represent an ancient isolated line of wolves in India.

            It is native to small pockets in northern India, Kashmir, eastern Nepal, China and Mongolia. DNA research suggested that these wolves may represent an ancient isolated line of wolves in India of about eight hundred thousand to one million years old.

            The Himalayan region is also home to the Indian wolf and the gray wolf and is the only location in the world were these three species of wolves exist, there by supporting the theory that the Indian region is the most likely place of modern wolf evolution. The Himalayan wolf population appears to be only 350 individuals and is often killed by local farmers and ranchers because it is regarded as a menace.

            They inhabit an area of 70,000 km2 in the Trans-Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir in northern India, and are adapted to the cold environment. In India the Himalayan wolf is accorded endangered species status under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act.

            In 2004, a group of 33 Himalayan wolves were spotted in the Spiti Valley in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. In 2000-2001 four of the Zoological Parks of India kept 21 individuals.18 Himalayan wolves are being bred in captivity. They were captured in the wild and are now being preserved in the trans-Himalayan region of India, at the Darjeeling Zoo in Shiwalik Hills on the lower range of the Himalaya in West Bengal, and in the Kufri Zoo with Kufri Himalayan National Park located in Himachal Pradesh province.

By Sachin Kaushik

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