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Canis lupus (Gray wolf)

General Information

It was the mammal with the largest geographical spread on the planet as covered virtually the whole northern hemisphere. Today because of the systematic extermination efforts, it has lost much of its historical territory. In Europe, except for Greece, the wolves exist in small populations in Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Nordic countries and in larger populations in Eastern Europe and they have recently reappeared in France, Switzerland and Germany. In Greece, its spread extends across almost the continental relief of the country, north of Viotia. It is protected by the Bern Convention, by CITE (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973) and the CG-IUCN.

The wolf runs very quickly (up to 45 km / hour) and swims well. It can reach 1.5 meters in length and lives in herds for better results in hunting. It is considered the leader because it is the strongest animal in the herd (male or female) and with its mate is the reproductive couple of the herd. As a carnivore, the wolf has evolved to feed mainly on wild herbivores and if they disappear, turning to smaller animals, farm animals, or even human food sources (rubbish, dead animals). Wolves can locate their prey from a distance of 3 km only from the smell. A wolf can hear the howling of another wolf from a distance up to 10 km, when man perceives absolute silence.


In Greece today, we estimate that 700 wolves live in almost all the continental terrain of country, north of Viotia. In these areas, the wolf survives in many small and isolated groups, with a greater presence in places with pastoralism or where there are still large mountain ranges without intense human presence.

Probable Threats

The reduction of natural prey of wolves (deer, roe deer, wild boar) due to anthropogenic factors, turns the wolf to the livestock. This, in conjunction with the gradual relaxation of prevention of damage leads to human-wolf conflicts. The hunt and the poisoned baits continue to be widespread practice of killing wolves although the law already since 1991, strictly prohibits their use. Also, the expansion of human activity even in inaccessible and remote areas, the large construction projects, the opening of extensive and uncontrolled network of forest roads, the expansion of pastures and the reduction of forest areas, gradually led to the degradation of the habitat of the wolf, threatening its survival.


Iliopoulos, G. 1999a. Distribution, population estimate and population trends of wolves in Greece. Interim Report, Project "WOLF", LIFE97 NAT / GR / 004249, Arcturus, Ministry of Agriculture- General Secretariat of Forestry and Natural Environment

Valakos, S., P. Pafilis, P. Georgiakakis, G. Papamichail, P. Lyberakis, Ch. Simou and K. Taxeidis, Wild Mammals, University of Athens, 2012.

Tsounis, G., Mammals of Greece, Publishing Pergamini.