Himalayan wolves appear to be expanding their range out of Tibet and into Nepal. Livestock kills attributed to the wolves are on the rise.
The wolves are not very well known to most people and eke out a living on the slopes of Mt Everest and its environs. Also known as Tibetan wolves, several thousand are believed to live in Tibet. An unknown number are now in neighboring Nepal. The number of livestock being kiled by wolves is rising. Last year according to Nepalese statistics, 323 animals were killed. About 70 percent of them were killed by wolves. The wolves are also common in Mongolia.
In recent posts we have talked about the perils of “tiger-centric” conservation. In Nepal the problem may be focus on snow leopards. Efforts to save the snow leopards may put the wolves in the shadows. The two animals are the apex predators in the region. At lower elevations, Nepal has been successful at increasing the numbers of Tigers in the country.
Tibetan wolves are a subspecies of gray wolf. They weigh up to 100 pounds, and are opportunistic predators that eat anything they can catch. Tibetan wolves will work in packs for bigger prey. In Mongolia they are hunted routinely and bounties are placed on them. Conservation efforts are beginning because conservation authorities are worried about how many are being hunted.
Since Mongolia does not pay bounties for killed livestock and the hunts are ingrained in the culture, efforts to conserve the wolf in all its range are beginning. The Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) and the Tibetan Ministry of the Environment are partners with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)The three groups are planning to study the Mongolian wolves and recommend hunting laws and conservation measures. Although largely focused on North American wildlife issues DOW also works internationally on conservation issues.
JICA is a governmental agency in Japan. The goals are human development and forging a peaceful and secure world. The agency assists with projects around the world.