The wolf is the biggest representative of its family (Canidae),
with an average weight of 35 kg (77.16 lb) for males and 25 kg (55.11 lb) for females. Its morphology is characteristic, such as the snout and the pointed ears, the long and thin legs and the coat varying from grey to reddish depending on the subspecies
Typical trait of the wolf is the high social capacity and consequently the ability to communicate with body language
and with other means, which are the result of its evolution. It is a predator that hunts mainly big-sized ungulates, but when in the need the wolf does not disdain smaller animals, carrion or garbage.
Autochthonous subspecies of the Italian peninsula is the Apennine Wolf (Canis lupus italicus),
which is currently considered to be “at minimal risk of extinction” according to the IUCN red list.
Today in Italy
In our country about 1800 wolves (Canis lupus italicus) have been currently estimated. This predator has expanded in recent years from the most inaccessible areas of the central Apennines, those of historical presence, reaching its current dispersal that goes from the Calabrian Apennines to the Alps, also including the hilly and flat areas of Tuscany and Puglia.
In the last forty years the species in Italy has been saved from extinction,
but its return is causing many conflicts with livestock activities, especially in the newly resettled areas.
This is because the wolf had disappeared in those places and breeding practices were developed, which were not compatible with the presence of such a predator.
If on the one hand its spontaneous recovery has been a conservation success,
on the other hand important questions of land management have emerged, leading us to question ourselves about our entire relationship with Nature.
Following the growing awareness of environmental issues and the real battles of environmental lobbies, the protection of the wolf became law: in 1971 with the ministerial decree Natali, the wolf was excluded from the “harmful” species and its hunting was forbidden, and in 1976 the Marcora decree law ensured its full protection.
In 1981 our country ratified the Berne Convention (1979) which provides for the special protection of the wolf and prohibits its captivity and trade.
Subsequently, with the “Law for the protection of homeothermic wild fauna and for hunting withdrawal” of 1992, the wolf was confirmed among the particularly protected species and penal sanctions were provided for its killing.
In the same year, Italy also ratified CITES, the international treaty protecting endangered species subject to trade, and in 1997 the European Habitat Directive, which protects particular environments and all animal and plant species living there, including the wolf.
It is therefore prohibited not only to kill, but also to capture, transport, hold and disturb the specimens, and to damage the reproduction sites as well.