Arctic Wolf


  • Status
    Least Concern
  • Scientific Name
    Canis lupus arctos
  • Weight
    70 to 175 pounds
  • Length
    3.2 to 5.9 feet
  • Habitats

Often called the "polar wolf" or "white wolf," Arctic wolves inhabit the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. Thanks to its isolation, the Arctic wolf is not threatened by hunting and habitat destruction in the same way as its southern relatives.   


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Why They Matter

  • Arctic wolves are carnivorous hunters. By nature they help to control the populations of other animals in the region like the musk ox, caribou and Arctic hares.


  • Extinction Risk Least Concern
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Musk oxen (Ovibos moschatus) in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, United States.

Musk oxen are part of the Arctic wolf’s diet.

Climate Change

Extreme weather variations in recent years have made it more difficult for populations of musk ox and Arctic hares to find food which has caused a significant decline in their numbers. As a result, this has reduced the traditional food supply of the Arctic wolf.

Industrial Development

Unlike other species of wolf, the Arctic wolf rarely comes into contact with humans and is not threatened by hunting or persecution. Industrial development threatens the Arctic wolf as an increasing number of mines, roads, and pipelines encroach on its territory and interrupt its food supply.

What WWF Is Doing

Arctic landscape

WWF works with governments, businesses, and communities across the Arctic to combat the threats to the region and to preserve its rich biodiversity, including the presence of the Arctic wolf.

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