Nepal | July 09, 2020

Ancient Himalayan wolves still roam in Nepal’s Himalayas

THT Online
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Himalayan wolves A Himalayan wolf photographed in Upper Mustang of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal (29.17356°N, 84.13422°E; datum WGS84, elevation 5,050 m) during May 2014. Photo: ZooKeys

A Himalayan wolf photographed in Upper Mustang of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal (29.17356°N, 84.13422°E; datum WGS84, elevation 5,050 m) during May 2014. Photo: Madhu Chhetri via ZooKeys

KATHMANDU: Scientists have confirmed that an endangered species of ancient Himalayan wolf is still extant and roams in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal.

They reached to the conclusion after analysing the DNA extracted from faecal samples, suspected to have originated from the Himalayan wolves (Canis lupus chanco), collected from the Upper Mustang region in the Annapurna Conservation Area.

Madhu Chhetri, who is affiliated with Norway’s Hedmark University College and Nepal’s National Trust for Nature Conservation, had collected the samples in October 2011.

Recent genetic studies have revealed the existence of three lineages of wolves in the Indian sub-continent and the Himalayan wolf has been reported to be the most ancient lineage historically distributed within the Himalayan region in Nepal, according to a paper recently published in journal ZooKeys.

The paper “Ancient Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) lineage in Upper Mustang of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal” said this species of wolf residing in the Trans-Himalayan region was genetically distinct and very different from the European wolf, citing molecular analysis and morphological observations.

Faecal sample and direct sighting locations of the Himalayan wolves in Upper Mustang of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Image via ZooKeys

Faecal sample and direct sighting locations of the Himalayan wolf in Upper Mustang of Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Image via ZooKeys

Chhetri, a graduate student at the the Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, is the lead author of the paper.

In the paper, the researchers pointed out that these genetically distinct Himalayan wolves deserved special conservation attention, at the same time that the conservation of this species in a context of human-wildlife conflict was challenging.

“A species action plan needs be formulated that develops mechanisms to minimize conflict, and strategies for motivating local communities towards wolf conservation,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

Two Himalayan wolves in Upper Mustang. Photo: Madhu Chhetri

Two Himalayan wolves in Upper Mustang. Photo: Madhu Chhetri


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