A Rare Sighting – The Himalayan Wolf

Wolf, Himalayan, NatGeoPadmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, India.  By analyzing the animal’s DNA, a scientist says the animal is not a subspecies of the gray wolf.  Another expert isn’t so sure.

Pausing at a clearing, a sudden streak of black against the carpet of white snow moved in the corner of Madhu Chetri‘s eye.

It was 2004, and Chetri, now a Ph.D. student at Norway’s Hedmark University College, was trekking through the roof of the world: Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area.

Looking up, he caught the gaze of a wolf, who regarded him with curiosity.

“I was struck by these golden yellow eyes. They were so bright. I was so excited,” says Chetri, who was exploring the Upper Mustang region as part of his conservation work. (See “12 of Our Favorite Wolf Photos.”)

The area had plenty of feral dogs, but Chetri knew right away that this big, woolly creature was no dog.

It was the Himalayan wolf, which had never before been seen in Nepal.

Searching for Scat

Scientists first identified the Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), thought to be a subspecies of the gray wolf, about 200 years ago.

It was known to live in India and Tibet, but never Nepal.

Not long after Chetri saw his wolf, two studies came out that challenged the idea that the Himalayan wolf was a subspecies. At the DNA level, the studies claimed, the wolf was so different that it deserved its own species name … read more –>  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016

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