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October 4, 2023 at 3:41 pm #2185clive
In the picturesque region of Aragón in northeastern Spain, a remarkable and unique wolf couple has captured the attention of wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists alike. This extraordinary pairing involves a male wolf hailing from Italy (Canis lupus italicus) and a female wolf native to Spain (Canis lupus signatus), making it the only known case of its kind. Their coexistence in Aragón, nestled between Alcañiz, Hijar, and Caspe, could hold the key to enriching the wolf population through successful reproduction.
These Italian canids initially ventured into Aragón by crossing the Pyrenees, where their Iberian counterparts reside. Over time, they migrated to France, establishing a stable population before recently extending their travels back into Spain. This confirmed pairing of individuals from both populations is cause for optimism as it may lead to the growth and diversification of the species.
Manuel Alcántara de la Fuente, the head of Aragón’s biodiversity unit, noted that the wolf pair has been together for some time, raising hopes of potential breeding in the upcoming season. Wolves typically enter their mating season at the end of winter, with births occurring in spring. While it’s unlikely that they’ve already reproduced this year, the possibility of future wolf cubs remains exciting.
Wolves have been making a comeback in Aragón since the early 2000s. In 2017, a male wolf of transalpine origin settled in the Los Monegros region, a sparsely populated area of Aragón. Genetic analysis later confirmed the presence of five canids in the region, including four wolves with Italian origins and one Iberian wolf. Unfortunately, one of the males from Los Monegros met with a tragic end in April, underscoring the challenges these magnificent creatures face.
The significance of this unique pairing is not lost on conservationists. Luis Suárez, the local conservation coordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), expressed optimism about the potential for successful reproduction. The Italian canids’ arrival in the Pyrenees three decades ago marked a remarkable journey, with wolves leaving the Apennine Mountains in Italy, crossing the Alps and highways, and eventually settling in France and Spain. Their natural convergence is seen as an opportunity to enhance the genetic diversity of the Iberian wolf population.
Biologist Juan Carlos Blanco, an expert in carnivores, believes that crossbreeding between these two wolf populations will not pose significant problems. He emphasizes that these wolves made their way to each other independently, which could lead to greater genetic diversity and support the regeneration of the European wolf population.
While the populations of these wolves are very similar, subtle differences exist, primarily in their propensity for travel. Wolves from the transalpine region tend to disperse more widely, venturing across Europe. In contrast, the local wolves exhibit more localized behavior.
The potential for the wolf pair in Aragón to produce offspring holds the promise of connecting with the Iberian wolf population in Guadalajara, central Spain, and expanding the territorial range of the species. Currently, they are separated by geographical barriers.
As wolf populations grow in Europe, discussions about reducing protections have emerged. Conservation efforts, including financial aid for livestock protection, aim to mitigate conflicts between wolves and human activities. In the area where the Iberian-Italian wolf couple resides, an abundant source of wild game ensures their survival, minimizing conflicts with livestock.
The presence of this unique wolf couple in Aragón not only highlights the remarkable resilience of these creatures but also underscores the importance of conservation efforts to protect and enrich their populations in the wild.
Read more about Iberian wolf here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/iberian-wolf-canis-lupus-signatus-lobo-iberico/
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https://grazalemaguide.com/ (All my web projects in one portal and everything you need to know about Grazalema)October 4, 2023 at 3:45 pm #2187Miguel
Interesting that the “eco people” are not worried that the two subspecies will interbreed. But, that said, I do think that a lot of the classification and splitting of species can be a bit extreme sometimes 🙂
I guess that the wolves from Italy, France and Spain would have historically interbred especially at the territory frontiers?
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