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
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
This discovery extends
the known distribution area of the African
Wolf (Canis lupus
lupaster) westwards by more than 3000
North-west Africa (see Rueness et al. 2011).
African wolfs also found in north-eastern Algeria and Senegal
An article published in PLoS ONE by Gaubert et al. on 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)".
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
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.
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 lupaster) filmed 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.