The Italian wolf ( Canis lupus italicus ), also known as the Apennine wolf , is a subspecies of the gray wolf that lives in the Apennine mountains in Italy . It was first described in 1929 and recognized as a subspecies in 1999  . Recently, due to an increase in population, this subspecies has also been seen in Switzerland . In recent years, Italian wolves have settled in southern France , in particular in the Mercantour National Park . In all three countries, the wolf is protected.
|Canis lupus italicus|
- 1 Description
- 2 ration
- 3 Behavior and reproduction
- 4 History
- 5 Recovery
- 5.1 Italy
- 5.2 France
- 6 Folklore
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
This is a medium-sized wolf. Males weigh 24–40 kg on average, and females are usually 10% lighter. Body length 100-140 cm  . The fur is usually gray or brown, although black individuals were observed in the Mugello region and in the Tuscan-Emilian Apenins  .
Comparative analyzes of Italian wolves, Eurasian wolves and wild dogs showed that the Italian population of wolves is the cleanest and least affected by hybridization with domestic dogs  . However, in 2004, three wolves with processes on their hind legs were found in the south-central Tuscan province of Siena , indicating the contamination of the gene pool. Although this caused concern because of the danger that threatens the genetic purity of the wolf, some biologists and ecologists were encouraged by such an obvious symptom, since it is a factor potentially useful for the diagnosis of hybrids  .
Italian Wolf is a nocturnal hunter that feeds mainly on medium-sized animals such as chamois , European roe deer , red deer and wild boar . In the absence of such prey, his diet also includes small animals such as rabbits and hares. The Italian wolf can eat up to 1.5-3 kg of meat per day. Occasionally, a wolf eats berries and herbs as a ballast  .
The wolf adapted well in some urban areas, and in such cases it does not disdain pets.
Behavior and Reproduction
Due to the lack of large prey, wolf packs in Italy are usually small. The flocks are usually limited to a nuclear family consisting of the offspring of a dominant pair and young wolves that remain with their parents until they reach the age when they can disperse and breed. However, in areas where there are many large herbivores, such as deer - for example, in the Abruzzo National Park - one can find flocks consisting of 6-7 individuals  .
Mating occurs in mid-March and is accompanied by a two-month pregnancy. The number of cubs depends on the age of the mother and usually varies from 2 to 8 cubs. Cubs weigh 250-350 grams at birth and open their eyes at the age of 11-12 days . They wean from nipples at the age of 35–45 days and are able to completely digest meat in 3-4 months  .
Until the end of the XIX century, wolf populations were widely distributed in the mountain regions of Italy. By the beginning of the 20th century , persecution began. In a very short time, the wolf disappeared from the Alps , Sicily , and its number declined sharply in the Apennine regions.
After World War II, the situation worsened, and wolf populations reached their historic low in the 1970s. In 1972, Luigi Boitani and Eric Zimen were given the task of leading the first systematic study of the state of wolves in Italy. After examining the areas between the Sila plateau in the south and the Sibillini massif in the central Apennines, they concluded that the wolf population consisted of a maximum of 100-110 animals .
Beginning in the 1970s, political debate began to resolve in favor of increasing wolf populations. In the early 1980s, a new study was conducted, according to which at that time there were already 220-240 wolves and their number was growing. New estimates in the 1990s showed that wolf populations doubled, with some individuals settling in the Alps, a region that has not been inhabited by wolves for almost a century. Recent evidence suggests that 500-600 Italian wolves now live free. Their populations grow by 7% annually. 
Wolves migrated from Italy to France in 1992 . The French population of wolves is no more than 40-50 individuals , but animals were accused of the death of almost 2,200 sheep in 2003 . In comparison, less than 200 sheep died in 1994 . Disagreements also arose in 2001 , when a shepherd who lived on the outskirts of Mercantour National Park was bitten by three wolves  . According to the Berne Convention, the wolf is an endangered species and hunting for it is prohibited. Official control of the population is permitted if it does not pose a threat to the subspecies  .
In Italian culture, the wolf appears in the famous myth of Romulus and Remus , the legendary founders of Rome . The twin boys were ordered to be killed by their cousin Amulius , who was afraid that they would seize power from him over Alba Longa . But the servant who was ordered to kill them took pity on them and placed them in a cradle, leaving her on the banks of the Tiber River, and then left. The river flooded, rose and carefully carried the cradle with the twins downstream, where, under the protection of the river deity Tiberin, they got to the she-wolf, in Latin known as Lupa , who adopted them. They were grown under a fig tree and fed by a woodpecker. Both animals were dedicated to Mars .
According to Fioretti , the city of Gubbio was besieged by the wolf Gubbio, which devoured both cattle and people. Francis of Assisi , who then lived in Gubbio, felt sorry for the townspeople and went to the mountains to find a wolf. Soon the fear of the animal made all his companions retreat, but the saint continued on his way, and when he saw the wolf, he made the sign of the cross and ordered the wolf to come to him and not harm anyone. The wolf closed its mouth and lay down at the feet of St. Francis “Brother Wolf, you do a lot of harm in these places and have done a great evil ...” said Francis. "All these people blame and curse you ... But, brother wolf, I would like you to be reconciled with people." Then he led the wolf to the city, where, surrounded by amazed townspeople, he made peace between them and the wolf. Since the wolf "did evil from hunger," the townspeople had to regularly feed the wolf, and the wolf had to stop attacking them and their herds. So Gubbio was freed from the threat of a predator. Francis, an animal lover, even made peace with the city dogs, in which they no longer bothered the wolf.
- European Mammal Assessment - Canis lupus Archived January 14, 2009.
- GENERALITA 'SULLA SPECIE unopened (link not available) . CSDL: Centro per lo Studio e la Documentazione sull Lupo . Date of treatment May 20, 2007. Archived June 7, 2006.
- ciale & id = 88 - provediemozioni.com - fotografia naturalistica
- BBC News | SCI / TECH | Wolves find haven in Italy
- Claws reveal wolf survival threat . Date of treatment July 2, 2007. Archived on August 26, 2011.
- BBC News | MEDIA REPORTS | French shepherd 'mauled by wolves'
- Wolf Song of Alaska: France's Bardot Demands EU Action on Wolf Cull Archived on September 29, 2011.