The Hokkaidō wolf, known in Japan as the Ezo wolf (エゾオオカミ（蝦夷狼） Ezo Ōkami, Canis lupus hattai), is one of the two extinct subspecies of Canis lupus that have been called the Japanese wolf. The other is the Honshū wolf.
This endemic wolf of Japan occupied the island of Hokkaidō. The Hokkaidō wolf was larger than the Honshū wolf, more closely approaching the size of a regular gray wolf.
The Ezo wolf was a distinct subspecies, and had a more traditionally wolf-like appearance than its southern cousin, the Honshū wolf. The skull was large and formidable, with long, curved canines, and the body dimensions were similar to that of grey wolves. The Ezo wolf was typically grey in coloration, and significantly larger than the wolves of Honshū. Like the Honshū wolf, the Ezo wolf descended from Siberian wolves from the Asian mainland, yet the Hokkaido subspecies retained a size closer to these large ancestors.
The Hokkaidō wolf became extinct during the Meiji restoration period. The wolf was deemed a threat to ranching (which the Meiji government promoted at the time) and targeted via a bounty system and a direct chemical extermination campaign. Hokkaido experienced significant development during this period and the Hokkaidō wolf also suffered from resulting environmental disruption.
Sightings of the Hokkaidō wolf have been claimed from the time of its extinction to the present day, but none of these have been verified.
- ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- ^ Brett L. Walker, "Meiji Modernization, Scientific: Agriculture, and the Destruction of Japan's Hokkaidō Wolf," Environmental History, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2004.
- ^ Hall, Jamie (2005). "The Cryptid Zoo: Japanese Dwarf Wolf (or Shamanu)". Retrieved 2006-06-15.