Wolf (Canis lupus signatus)

Wolves were for a long time the most widespread mammals on Earth, until human persecution and poisoning, triggered by predation on livestock, reduced their distribution area of about one third, and caused their extinction from large portions of the planet.
In Italy, this species was once widespread on the whole peninsula and in Sicily but, especially during the 19th century, it started being ruthlessly persecuted and its population was drastically reduced: at the beginning of the 1970s, only about 100 animals survived in few and remote areas of the Apennines.
Then, conservation programmes and depopulation of large hill and mountain areas in the Apennines let the wolf population increase again: today, it is estimated to consist of about 800-1,000 animals. The species range widened, too: wolves are now distributed from the Maritime Alps to Calabria, sometimes even far away from the Apennines, as it happens in Tuscany and Lazio.
However, persecutions haven’t stopped: it is estimated that 15-20% of the population is illegally killed every year, by poison baits, traps or shooting.
It is useful to remind that wolf, which is the main victim of poison, is very important to limit the
populations of wild boars and roe deers, its favourite preys.
5 to 8 wolf reproductive units have been identified within the Gran Sasso-Laga Park.

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