The wolf family.
Among mammals wolf's genus is one of the smallest. It includes only 7 species:
The wolf (Canis Lupus);
The Golden jackal (Canis Aureus);
The coyote (Canis Latrans);
The red wolf (Canis Rufus);
The black-backed jackal (Canis Mesomelas);
The side-striped jackal (Canis Adustus);
The Simian jackal (Canis Simensis).
The Jackals - small representatives of a genus, in size with a medium-sized dog. The Black-backed, the side-striped and the Simian jackal species live in Africa, the Golden jackal is widespread in Southern Asia, in the south of Europe, in the north and the east of Africa. A basis of their feed is small rodents, birds, reptiles. They are also known as "fans" of carrion, the rests of large animals' prey.
The Simian jackal - the rarest species is registered in the International Red book. It is not typical of them to take carrion.
The Black-backed jackal also mainly eats small rodents. It is very beautiful, graceful, light and fast in movement animal.
The Side-striped jackal meets less often than the black-backed and the Golden jackals.
The Golden jackal - is the most widely distributed. In his size and force he strongly yields to the wolf. Jackals live in families, occupying a certain territory. It was considered earlier, that the posterity soon leaves parents, but now was found out, that sometimes young posterity remains with parents for another season, becoming helpers. The active life begins at night, the territory is carefully checked, marks are left, the information about neighbors is gathered, relations with them are clarified, and food for family is bagged. Contrary to literary images, jackals are courageous and sharp. On hunting they use keen methods, drawing away and decoying prey. Often they are attracted by human habitation, differing with "disrespect", picking up waste, and sometimes even stealing poultry.
Coyotes inhabit Northern America, living both in deserts, and in woods. They are bigger than jackals, and are able to get larger prey, for example, sheep, calf. Often coyotes settle near human habitation causing people a lot of troubles. Because of cunning and resourcefulness, they dexterously avoid traps. This species was kept in all regions.
The red wolf - is a very rare animal, it is kept in small quantity in Southwestern of Northern America. They take intermediate position between coyotes and wolves, considering their size and some other characteristics. Some zoologists consider them hybrid of the wolf and the coyote others - a special subspecies of the wolf, the third - give the separate specific status.
And finally the Wolf - it is the largest animal from wild representatives of the dog family. It most brightly represents all genus Canis. There is a special branch of a zoological science - "wolf history", which has its schools, methods, and still this animal remains mysterious and interesting. Wolves - are predators, hunters on large prey. They live in packs with a pair of adult animals in the center and several generations of their posterity. Northern subspecies often have packs with greater number of adult species.
Pack's size is an important wolves' population characteristic. West-German zoologist Eric Tsimen has specified two important factors, influencing on the pack's size: 1. The size of the main prey of predators. 2. Density of the population. But the pack in itself is a self-adjusted mechanism. If population intensity is low then the pack are small, and the separation of rising generation occurs more quickly. At favorable ecological conditions the population intensity raises, in this case the size of the pack increases, but up to the certain limit. The growth occurs only due to not packed lone wolves occupying subordinated position. Thus, in the pack there is a "core" of wolves with the high social status and the subordinated wolves. At ecology worsening, when a new generation is born the subordinated male wolves leave the pack by themselves but females are expelled by the major she-wolf. Only alpha-female wolf breeds and raises the young growth. While considering question of mutual relations between packs a group of American zoologists under the direction of David Mech has put forward an interesting hypothesis. It turns out, that between sites of the wolf packs there are certain "buffer zones" where packs occasionally (in order to prevent disputed situations) come and mark. During the favorable periods wolves do not hunt here, zones become a peculiar "reserve" for victims. If the situation changes, i.e. the prey on their territories is not enough, packs leave on hunting in these zones. There are the interpack conflicts leading to cruel fights with participating of adult wolves of high ranks that leads, finally, to defeat of one of packs.
Wolves' ingenuity and intellect are good known. Knack of choosing the most convenient places for hunting, organization of so-called "wolf shelters", transfer of the similar information to the next generations, division of roles between members of the pack - all these make animals worthy of respect and of kind attitude. High ability to rational activity allows wolves to use human thriftlessness, to resist many actions directed on their cruel extermination.
Under human influence the wolf's area was abruptly reduced during last 200 - 250 years. People exterminate wolves, protecting herds of domestic animals, and dislodge them from densely populated areas. Nowadays there are no wolves in Japan and on British isles. They are exterminated in France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and in all Central Europe.
During last decades wolf's area in Europe continues to be reduced very quickly and assumes an island character, leaving huge gaps between separate populations.
In Russia, thankfully, extermination does not threaten the wolf yet. Moreover - for last years number of wolves even has increased and makes for today about 50 000 of species.
Habits and way of life
Habits and way of life