What has stopped the Egyptian wolf from spreading?

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La Striata
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What has stopped the Egyptian wolf from spreading?

Post by La Striata » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:19 am

As it is now rather firmly established that Canis [aureus/lupus] lupaster is in fact a subspecies of grey wolf, I would very much like to know why it is that its range is limited to northeastern Africa. The grey wolf is an adaptable and migratory animal, and as far as I know there are no natural barriers preventing it from increasing its African range.

I already have some thoughts as to the reason, but I'd like to get some feedback before expressing them.
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Re: What has stopped the Egyptian wolf from spreading?

Post by wq47 HawkTail » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:42 pm

One reason is because they only travel alone, or in pairs. They can't defend themselves against larger predators as would a large wolf pack. Another thing is that they have a very limited food supply, which makes it difficult to raise pups or even just support themselves nutritionally.
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Re: What has stopped the Egyptian wolf from spreading?

Post by Tarbtano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:26 pm

I would actually have to say it was a combination of the fact the ecological niche was already filled down south, and the presence of one animal group in particular; Hyenas. Its fairly well known that the Cave Hyena kept a firm lid on the wolves during the Ice-Age (no Dire 'wolves' were not wolves, but giant Coyotes; and Cave Hyenas never went to North America past Alaska), so perhaps the presence of the Cave Hyena's slightly smaller relative, the Spotted Hyena, along with the Striped and Brown Hyenas; are having the same effect in keeping wolves out of most of Africa.

Now in Asia you do have wolves and hyenas coexisting, but remember. The Striped Hyena is one of the smaller hyenas, is not a active predator of large game; and is mostly solitary; so its doesn't have much interaction with wolves outside of kill sites where a hyena seizes a carcass.

But in Africa, in addition to having the Striped and dietary similar Brown Hyena; along with the Spotted Hyena (who is a large, active carnivore), the wolves just couldn't compete. The intellectual and physical superiority of hyenas over wolves is a very well documented, but not widely reported fact. So in a landscape dominated not only by big cats and another wild, pack hunting canine (Painted Dogs); you have to now also compete with social, pack (or rather, clan hunting) hunting carnivores that are

-Much Smarter
-Much Stronger
-Has better coordination in hunting strategies
-and already established

and that is a recipe for disaster for a wolf. The one niche the Egyptian Wolf could fill, was that of a small game hunter and scavenger; and it couldn't spread far south with that niche because the role southward was already filled by various Jackals

So that's why I think Wolves never spread throughout Africa
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