The Apennine wolf (Canis lupis italicus) is the Apennines’ biggest carnivore after the Marsican bear. The male specimen weighs approximately 20-35 kg, the female 25-30 kg. In average the wolf is 120 cm long and 50-70 cm tall. It hunts in packs mainly ungulate (wild boars, roe deer, deer), though it also can eat small rodents and occasionally wild berries. Its hair is grey-brown. The wolves mate in early spring. After a gestation of about two months, the she-wolf pups from 2 to 8 cubs according to her age.
The widespread human presence on the Apennines has brought to a difficult coexistence between wolf and man activities, most of all sheep-farming. In early ‘80s, in Italy, the wolf was endangered of extinction. In all of the national territory, only about 100 specimens survived. This tragic situation urged to create the wolf genetic bank that mainly aimed at granting the survival of a group of individuals to be released in case of a sudden decrease of the wild population. In the following years, thanks to the rise of the wolves in Nature, the specific targets of those areas of repopulation changed. Their current purpose is temporarily caring and curing the animals wound in Nature, carrying out scientific research, generating “culture” in the conviction that the knowledge of the wolf, in addition to the emotions that it rouses, is actually one of the best ways to contribute to the protection of this species. These motivations persuaded the Italian Rangers to set up fauna areas of the wolf and create the Wolf’s Visit Centre in Popoli, of which the cooperative Il Bosso is in charge. Special thanks to Il Bosso (www.ilbosso.com) for the Cristian Moscone’s photos posted above.