Kenai Peninsula wolf

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Kenai Peninsula wolf
Conservation status

Extinct  (1925[1]) (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C. l. alces
Trinomial name
Canis lupus alces
Goldman, 1941[2][3]

Kenai Peninsula wolf (Canis lupus alces), also known as the Kenai Peninsula grey wolf,[4] was a sub-species of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, that lived on a peninsula in southern Alaska known as Kenai Peninsula.[5]


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.[6][7] 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.[7][8][9]


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)[dubious ] 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.[6] 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.


  1. ^ Charles Bergman (2003). Wild Echoes: Encounters With the Most Endangered Animals in North America. University of Illinois Press. pp. 256–. ISBN 978-0-252-07125-6. 
  2. ^ "Canis lupus alces Goldman, 1941". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  3. ^ Joshua Ross Ginsberg, David Whyte Macdonald & IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group (1990). "Sorting out the Canidae". Foxes, wolves, jackals, and dogs: an action plan for the conservation of canids. International Union for Conservation of Nature. pp. 4–8. ISBN 978-2-88032-996-9. 
  4. ^ Murray Wrobel (2007). Elsevier's Dictionary of Mammals: In Latin, English, German, French and Italian. Elsevier. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-0-444-51877-4. 
  5. ^ Weckworth, Byron V.; Talbot, Sandra; Sage, George K.; Person, David K.; Cook, Joseph (2005). "A Signal for Independent Coastal and Continental histories among North American wolves" (PDF). Molecular Ecology 14 (4): 917–31. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02461.x. PMID 15773925. 
  6. ^ a b "Kenai wildlife may be more special than you think". Peninsula Clarion (2010-07-15). Retrieved on 2012-12-31.
  7. ^ a b Liz Jozwiak and Ted Spraker (December 3, 1999)"Wolves on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge" –U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  8. ^ Rolf O. Peterson, James D. Woolington and Theodore N. Bailey (1984). "Wolves of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska". Wildlife Monographs 88: 3–52. JSTOR 3830728. 
  9. ^ "Kenai Peninsula Wolf". Wolf Pack. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 

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