African Wolf discovered in Morocco (Middle Atlas and Rif moutains)

A group of researchers led by Pr. Vicente Urios from the University of Alicante has announced the discovery of the African Wolf (Canis lupus lupaster) in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Mr Urios said it is "a fabulous find". The wolfs were photographed by camera photo trapping since a year and a half ago. The full report of this discovery will be published in the September issue of the Quercus magazine: “Detectan al lobo en Marruecos gracias al uso del foto-trampeo by Vicente Urios, Carlos Ramírez, Miguel Gallardo and Hamid Rguibi Idrissi.

The researchers detailed that the Berbers inhabiting the area where they worked talk about two types of “jackals”, one large and one small. The largest would actually be, according to the work of Vicente Urios’s team, a wolf. "They even have a word for wolf, but always thought it were jackals" says Urios.

The photographs show an animal with "obvious wolf characteristics, such as a large body, slender, with a powerful neck, tall individuals with darker mantle and short tail." The photo is taken in the Atlas at about 1,800 meters.

This discovery extends the known distribution area of the African Wolf (Canis lupus lupaster) westwards by more than 3000 Km to North-west Africa (see Rueness et al. 2011).

Read also: Serval photographed in the Middle Atlas mountains in April 2014.


African wolfs also found in north-eastern Algeria and Senegal

An article published in PLoS ONE by Gaubert et alon 10 August 2012 put more light on the African Wolf Canis lupus lupaster in North and West Africa and put forward its uniqueness among other wolf lineages:
"The African wolf appeared as a distinct genetic entity. Genetic distances with the other wolf lineages ranged between 1.9 and 4.3%, whereas they reached 4.5 to 9.3% between the African wolf and the different lineages of jackals. The uniqueness of the African wolf was reinforced by the fact that it had the highest level of haplotype and nucleotide diversity among gray wolf lineages, even exceeding that of the Holarctic wolves and dogs, and far greater than what was found for the Himalayan and Indian wolves".
"It is most likely that C. l. lupaster has been roaming in Africa since (at least) the Middle to Late Pleistocene, and that the African wolf and a cline of smaller morphotypes, traditionally defined as ‘golden jackals’, have been co-occurring in Africa since that period, without any clear morphological, temporal or ecological delineation (Geraads 2011)".
References:
Gaubert P., Bloch C., Benyacoub S., Abdelhamid A., Pagani P, Djagoun C.A.M.S. & Couloux A. (2012) Reviving the African Wolf Canis lupus lupaster in North and West Africa: A Mitochondrial Lineage Ranging More than 6,000 km Wide. PLoS ONE  7(8): e42740. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740
Geraads D. (2011) A revision of the fossil Canidae (Mammalia) of north-western Africa. Palaeontology 54: 429–446.
Rueness E. K., Asmyhr M.G., Sillero-Zubiri C., Macdonald D. W., Bekele A.,  (2011). The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16385. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016385
Urios V., Ramírez C., Gallardo M. & Rguibi Idrissi H. (2012). Detectanal lobo en Marruecos gracias al uso del foto-trampeo. Quercus (319): 14-15)

African Wolf in the Atlas Mountains

An African Wolf photographed in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco (© Vicente Urios). This photo obtained from the Facebook Page of Quercus  magazine. See the discussion here.

More photographs of Moroccan wolves at the Facebook page of “Grupo de Investigación de Zoología de Vertebrados” of the University of Alicante.

African Wolf  between Skikda and El-Kala, Algeria
An African Wolf at an agricultural landscape between Skikda and El-Kala, Algeria (photograph: Slim Benyacoub). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740.g004


Découverte du loup africain (Canis lupus lupaster) en Afrique du Nord-ouest (Maroc et Algérie) et au Sénégal.
Une équipe scientifique hispano-marocain (Urios et al. 2012) a annoncé la découverte du loup africain (Canis lupus lupaster) dans les montagnes du Moyen Atlas, au Maroc. Une autre équipe multinational (Gaubert et al. 2012) a découvert le loup africain au nord de l’Algérie et au Sénégal. voir les références ci-dessus.

En printemps 2013, l’équipe Amouddou a filmé le loup africain pour la première fois dans le Rif, nord du Maroc (vidéo ci-dessous).

Update (May 2013):

Video of three African wolves (Canis lupus lupasterfilmed for the first time in the Rif Mountains (northern Morocco) by the Amouddou team in May 2013. Advice if you are eating: the animals are eating a carcass of a donkey.

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