Kenai Peninsula wolf
|Kenai Peninsula wolf|
|Subspecies:||C. l. alces|
|Canis lupus alces
Kenai Peninsula wolf (Canis lupus alces), also known as the Kenai Peninsula grey wolf, was a sub-species of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, that lived on a peninsula in southern Alaska known as Kenai Peninsula.
The Kenai Peninsula wolf was often observed in the early 1890s, when a number of settlers came to the region because of the Klondike Gold Rush. However, by the late 1910s, the wolf population of the peninsula had been almost completely eradicated through hunting and application of strychnine. Though there are scattered reports of wolf sightings in the area during the 1940s, confirmed re-emergence of wolves on the peninsula didn't occur until the 1960s. The largest recorded individual wolf of this breed was nearly 4.5 feet (1.4 m) tall at the shoulder, the largest wolf ever recorded or sighted. It is unknown whether the new packs of wolves represented other Alaskan subspecies that colonized the area, or the descendants of a few of the Kenai Peninsula wolves that had survived. It has been shown through DNA studies that, at minimum, Kenai Peninsula wolves mated with other Alaskan subspecies, as the structure of the current wolf population's DNA is similar to other mainland Alaskan subspecies.
This extinct subspecies is said to have been around 7 feet (210 cm) long not including the tail, which was about 22 inches (60 cm) long. They measured up to 45 inches (110 cm) tall, and the most plausible guesses of their maximum weight range from 200 pounds (90 kg) to slightly above 250 pounds (110 kg) a size that benefited the species in its hunt for the large moose that roamed the peninsula. It is widely accepted as the largest known species of canid. The species was classified in 1944 as one of the four subspecies in Alaska by Edward Goldman. While there is a current wolf population on the peninsula, the lack of genetic similarity to the original species has resulted in a classification of extinction for the original Kenai Peninsula wolf sub-species.
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