Common name: Grey wolf
Scientific name: Canis lupus
At the zoo: Chinook (male, 3y), Gigi (female, 5y), Hugo (male, 7y), Raiden (male, 3y), Zephyr (male, 2y), Tempest (female, 2y), Zillah (female, 2y), Zuni (female, 2y), Jericho (male, 1y), Stella (female, 1y), Virgo (female, 1y), Vega (female, 1y), and Comet (male, 1y); you can find them at the SE corner of the zoo.
Habitat: Grey wolves occur in much of the northern hemisphere in a wide range of habitats, from forests, to grasslands, to deserts.
Diet: Grey wolves are carnivorous, consuming a wide variety of prey from large and small ungulates to small mammals, birds, and carrion.
Median Life Expectancy:
Conservation Status: Least Concern
The largest of the wolf species, grey wolves vary in size with the northern populations tending to be larger. Grey wolves are very social with strong pack bonds, and often form life-long pair bonds. Pack sizes can be from 2 to over 30 individuals depending on prey abundance. There is a strong dominance hierarchy with an alpha male and an alpha female. Rank within the pack determines which wolves get to mate and the order in which they eat.
Grey wolves were hunted nearly to extinction in many parts of the world. Their recovery is an impressive conservation success story.
Vocalizations, like howling, are used to form strong pack bonds, to find other pack members, and to let non-pack members know about territory boundaries.