The Tundra Wolf (Canis lupus albus) is a subspecies of gray wolf native to the tundra and forest zones in the European and Asian parts of Russia and Kamchatka. Outside Russia, its range includes the extreme north of Scandinavia.
It is a large subspecies, with adult males measuring 118-137 cm (46-54 in) in length, and females 112-136 cm (44-54 in). Tail length in males is 42-52 cm (17-20 in), in females it is 41-49 cm (16-19 in). Although often written to be larger than forest wolves, this is untrue, as heavier forest wolves have been recorded. Average weight for males is 40-49 kg (88-108 lb). Females average 36.6-41 kg (81-90 lbs). The highest weight recorded among 500 wolves caught in the Taymyr Peninsula and the Kanin Peninsula during 1951-1961 was from an old male killed on the Taymyr at the north of the Dudypta River weighing 52 kg (115 lb). The fur is very long, dense, fluffy and soft. The top hairs are 150-160 mm, the guard hairs 80-150 mm and the underfur 70 mm. The fur is usually light and grey in colour. The lower fur is lead-grey and the upper fur is reddish-grey. Its fur and size are so similar to that of large Canadian wolves that their pelts are often sold together.
The tundra wolf usually makes its den in river valleys and thickets in dry plateaus, and tends to form packs of 5-7 members. It feeds primarily on wild and domestic reindeer and snow sheep in their eastern range. It also preys on hares and arctic foxes. It rarely forms permanent territories, traveling 200-300 km annually to accompany reindeer migrations. Reindeer losses to Tundra wolves can be considerable for the Nenets people, who rely on them for subsistence; in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, 1708 reindeer were killed by Tundra wolves in 1951, and 7048 others were scattered. In the decade between 1944-1954, Tundra wolves killed 75,000 reindeer.
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