Wolves once existed throughout much of Europe. Conflicts with humans and fears originating from religious beliefs, myths and folklore influenced human attitudes towards wolves and, as a result, wolves have been persecuted for hundreds of years. Currently, wolves are found in many European countries. The main prey in this region generally consists of ungulate species, including livestock. The legal status of wolves, their population numbers and trends vary from country to country.
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Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of wolves: 13,000 not including Russia, but numbers may be lower or higher due to insufficient research in several countries.
Population trend: Increasing and areas are expanding
Legal protection: Protected in many countries and considered a game species in some. Persecution or poaching in rural areas occurs despite protection.
Most recent data available: Varies depending on the country.
Common translated names for wolves in Europe
Common Names: gray wolf, ujku (Albanian), vuk (Croatian), vlk (Czech), ulv (Danish and Norwegian), wolf (Dutch and German), hunt (Estonian), susi (Estonian and Finnish), loup (French), farkas (Hungarian), lupo (Italian), wilk (Polish), lobo (Portuguese and Spanish), lup (Romanian), vlk dravý (Slovakian), volk (Slovene), varg (Swedish), kurt (Turkish), волк (Russian)
Latin Name: Canis lupus
tundra wolf, Eurasian Arctic wolf
Canis lupus albus
Canis lupus communis
Common Name: Italian wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus italicus
Common Name: Eurasian wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus lupus
Indian wolf, desert wolf
Canis lupus pallipes
Canis lupus signatus
The Fear of Wolves: A Review of Wolf Attacks on Humans (2002) (pdf) This document is available via the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) with a purpose to provide a foundation for the process of reducing people’s fear of wolves, and to make some management recommendations to reduce the risk of attacks. The goal was to compile existing literature and knowledge on wolf attacks on people from Scandinavia, continental Europe, Asia and North America, and to look for patterns in the cases.
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.