Wildlife of Pakistan


( Wild Dogs )

Grey Wolf
(Canis lupus)


PHOTO CREDIT: Rajpal Singh


Local name: Bhaghyar (Urdu)

Discription and Biology:

Description: The largest wild canid. Fur is thick and usually grey, but can vary from nearly pure white, red, or brown to black. Head-and-body length: 100- 150 cm. Tail length: 31-51 cm. Shoulder height: 66-81 cm. Weight: 16-60 kg, males heavier than females.

Reproduction: Time of mating: January-April. Gestation: 6 1 63 days. Litter size: 1-1 1, mean 6. Duration of lactation: 8-10 weeks. Age at sexual maturity: 22-46 months, occasionally 10 months. Longevity: up to 13 years in the wild, 16 years in captivity.

Social Behavior: A pack-living animal with a complex social organization. Packs are primarily family groups. The dominant pair breeds, with sub-dominant females under behaviourally induced reproductive suppression. Packs include up to 30 individuals, but smaller sizes (8-12) are more common.

Diet: Extremely variable, but the majority of the diet is large ungulates. Grey wolves will also eat smaller prey items, livestock, carrion, and garbage (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

There are two subspecies of the Grey Wolf in Pakistan. In the northern mountanious regions, the Tibetan Wolf (Canis Lupus Campestris) is found. The Tibetan Wolf inhabits the barren rocky mountanious valleys of Baltistan, Gilgit, Hunza, Chitral, Upper Swat and Khunjerab National Park. In the south of the country the Indian Wolf (Canis Lupus Pallipes) is found. Here the wolf inhabits the deserts of Cholistan and Thar. Further West the wolf inhabits the lower hills of the Baluchistan pleatue where it is widespread. The wolf is also found in N.W.F.P, but it is rare in this region.

The wolf has declined greatly in numbers during the last few decades. Local people kill the wolf because it is considered destructive to livestock. The wolf may became extinct in the east of the country if hunting is not stopped and it is not protected. Its survival in Baluchistan and the northern areas is slightly better. There is no information about the exact number of wolves in Pakistan.


 Golden Jackal or Asiatic Jackal
(Canis Aureus)



PHOTO CREDIT: Bedi Sons (Indian Wildlife)


Local name: Gheedhar (Urdu)

Discription and Biology:

Description: Coat varies with season and region, but is usually a pale gold-brown, or brown tipped yellow. Fur is coarse, and not very long. Dorsal area is black and grey; head, ears, and sides can be rufous. Underside is frequently ginger or nearly white. The tip of the tail is black. There is sexual dimorphism of approximately 15% in body weight. Head-and-body length: 60-106 cm. Tail length: 20-30 cm. Shoulder height: 38-50 cm. Weight: 7-15 kg.

Social Behaviour: Usually in mated pairs, territorial, territory size 0.5 to 2.5 km2 Helpers (last year's young) can increase reproductive success. In many areas, C. aureus is nocturnal and diurnal, but it becomes strictly nocturnal in areas inhabited by humans. Deviation from usual social organization is found in areas where food is abundant, with up to 20 members in a group and with home range areas of 0.11 km2.

Diet: Omnivorous: fruits; invertebrates; reptiles; amphibia; birds; small mammals; carrion. Opportunistic foragers, but cooperation between mated pairs can greatly increase hunting success. In areas around human habitation, it can subsist on garbage (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

The Golden Jackal is found in open country with trees and brush, grass and copse. This is a very common animal in Pakistan and is usually seen around human settlements. It is widespread and is found throughout much of the country, except the northern most mountanious regions.


(Cuon Alpinus)


PHOTO CREDIT: Arun Venkataraman


Local name: Jungli-kuta (Balti: Baltistan)

Discription and Biology:

Description: A fairly large, doglike canid, with rounded ears and a long, moderately bushy tail. Legs are rather short, pelage is evenly tawny or dark red with a slightly darker tail and lighter underparts. Head-and-body length: 90 cm. Tail length: 40-45 cm. Shoulder height: 50 cm. Weight: 15 -20 kg; female 10- 13 kg.

Reproduction: Litter size: 8-9, but 3-4 common. Lactation: At least 8 weeks. Age at sexual maturity: 1 year. Longevity: 10 years, up to 16 years in captivity.

Social Behavior: Dholes live in packs which are an extended family unit of usually 5-12 animals with aggregations of up to 25 animals occasionally noted. Packs are territorial. In a study in Bandipur, southern India, more than three adults took part in feeding both the lactating mother and the pups. Pack continues to care for pups after they leave the den, by regurgitating meat and allowing them access at kills.

Diet: The primary component of the diet is other vertebrates, particularly medium-sized ungulates. The dhole will also include berries and reptiles in its diet (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

There is no confirmed report of Dholes ocuuring in Pakistan, but it is thought that they migrate from Chinese Turkestan to the Shimshal area in Northern Pakistan. It has not been observed in Pakistan for 15 years.  

 Red Fox
(Vulpes Vulpes)


PHOTO CREDIT: Wildlife Ring


Local name: Loomari (Urdu)

Discription and Biology:

Description: A medium-sized canid, the largest fox in the genus Vulpes. Large bushy tail, often tipped in white. Ranges in colour from greyish and rust red to a flame red, usually reddish-brown. Black backs to ears; lower limbs often black. Enormous geographical range and corresponding wide variation in all measurements. Measures given here are ranges with selected European averages. Head-and-body length: 58-90 cm, males 67 cm, females 63 cm. Tail length: 32-49 cm, males 45 cm, females 38 cm. Shoulder height: 35-40 cm. Weight: 3-11 kg, males 6.7 kg, females 5.4 kg.

Reproduction: Time of mating: variable with latitude and habitat, usually in late winter/early spring. Gestation: 49-55 days, usually 51-52. Litter size: 3-12. Lactation: 4 weeks, completely weaned at 6-8 weeks. Age at sexual maturity: 9-10 months. Longevity: 10- 12 years in captivity.

Social Behaviour: Variable with habitat, but generally territorial with basic social unit the monogamous pair, which may or may not be share territory with non-breeding kin. Mainly crepuscular/nocturnal, but more diurnal where undisturbed. Pups are cared for by both parents, and remain in or near the den for the first three months of their lives. Communal denning, with more than one litter and/or adopted pups have been reported, but a single pair with pups is the most common breeding unit. The breeding pair is often associated with non-breeding family members. These are usually female and may act as helpers. Almost all males and a variable proportion of females disperse at 6 to l0 months, however males tend to disperse earlier and move greater distances. Mean dispersal distance varies widely between populations, and is positively correlated with home range size.

Diet: Extremely varied, including invertebrates (particularly beetles and earthworms), small mammals (rodents and lagomorphs), birds (including game species), and fruit along with garbage and carrion. Generally caches food surplus to requirements, and has highly developed memory for locations of hoards (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

The natural habitat of the Red Fox is dry, mixed landscape, with abundant 'edge' of scrub and woodland. It is also found in uplands, mountains (crosses alpine passes), deserts, sand dunes, and farmland. The Red Fox flourishes especially in affluent suburbs and, in many habitats, appears to be closely associated with humans. In Pakistan the Red Fox is widespread and common throughout most of the country. In the hill ranges like Murree and Azad Kashmir, is found a subspecie of the Red Fox, the Kashmir Hill Fox. Further north in the high mountanious regions such as the Karakoram and Hindukush is found another subspecie the Tibetan Red Fox. The Red Fox is killed in enormous numbers each year for its valuable pelt and because it is considered destructive to poultry, but it has survived this persecution and still survives in good numbers where ever it is found.



Bengal Fox

(Vulpes bengalensis)



PHOTO CREDIT: Image not avaliable


Local name: Loomari (Urdu)

Discription and Biology:

Description: Sandy-orange coat with black-tipped tail. Skull typically foxlike with long sharply pointed canines and well-developed molar teeth. Head-and-body length: 45-60 cm. Tail length: 25-35 cm. Shoulder height: unknown. Weight: 1.8-3.2 kg.

Reproduction: Time of mating: unknown. Gestation: 53 days, equivalent to average for vulpine foxes. Litter size: 2-4. Lactation: unknown. Age at sexual maturity: unknown. Longevity: unknown.

Social Behavior: The Bengal fox is believed to live in long-term monogamous pairs, but this is based on little evidence. The fox hunts solitarily, probably as a result of the prey it favours. Usually crepuscular and nocturnal, in mild temperatures hunting may be pursued during the day. This behaviour is especially common following rain and in cloudy weather. Two types of dens have been described: simple short dens with two openings used for brief periods of rest, and complex cavernous dens with many entrances used. The entrances to dens are littered with droppings.

Diet: The Bengal fox feeds opportunistically on insects, ground nesting birds, and smaller mammals. When in season, melons, shoots, and pods of Cicer arietum are eaten. V. bengalensis also eats winged termites, grasshoppers, crabs, and rodents (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

The Bengal Fox inhabits open country, thorny scrub or semi-desert, up to 1,350 m. It has a very local distribution in Pakistan. The Bengal Fox is found in Lahore district and Cholistan deserts in Punjab. It si also found in Kasur. Futher south it is found in the Thar desert in Sind and the Dadu and Thatta districts. It has not been recorded in Baluchistan or N.W.F.P. The major threat is killing for sport and for the alleged medicinal properties of its flesh. The great majority of foxes are killed for sport and not because they pose any threat to domestic livestock.



Blanford's Fox

(Vulpes Cana)




Local name: Siah Rubah (Farsi: Iran)

Discription and Biology:

Description: A small fox with very large ears and long tail which appears very bushy due to long dark guard hairs. Its appearance is very cat-like and its gait and demeanour are also rather feline. The colouring is variable, usually blotchy black, grey and white. The tail often has a dark tip, but is sometimes white. Some skins examined in the British Museum have white tips as do specimens in the wild. It has an almost black mid-dorsal line; the hind legs may be dark and the underparts are almost white. In Israel, colouring is light brown, grey, and yellow, and mid-dorsal line is sometimes absent. Head-and-body length: 42 cm. Tail length: 30 cm. Shoulder height: 28-30 cm. Weight: 0.9-1.3 kg in Israel (these data and most of what follows, are based on Geffen 1990).

Reproduction: Time of mating: Dec.-Jan. Gestation: 50-60 days. Litter size: 1-3 pups. Lactation: 60 days. Age at sexual maturity: 8-12 months. Longevity: 4-5 years. All data on reproduction is for animals from Israel.

Social Behavior: Monogamous, solitary hunter. Strictly nocturnal. Diet: Reportedly more frugivorous than other foxes. When eating domestic crops, the fox appears to prefer ripe melons, seedless grapes. It has also been observed eating insects, including locusts (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

Blanford's fox is usually found in mountainous regions and prefers cliffs. The species is known from barren mountain steppes and rocky hills bordering low valleys, cultivation and plains. The species is found to an altitude of approximately 2,000 m. This canid is found only in western Baluchistan. The Blandford's Fox is found in the hill ranges around Quetta, where it appears to be uncommon. It is also found in Chaman and the Chagai desert. Despite its being rare it is hunted for its valuable fur.



Ruppell's Fox

( Vulpes rueppelli)





Local name: Unknown

Discription and Biology:

Description: A pale sandy coloured coat with black patches on the face. The tip of the tail tip is conspicuously white. The fur is soft and dense, and the animal's frame is slighter than the red fox with short legs and broad ears. Head-and body length: 40-52 cm. Tail length: 25-39 cm. Shoulder height: 30 cm. Weight: 1.2-3.6 kg.

Reproduction: Time of mating: unknown. Gestation: unknown. Litter size: 2-3. Lactation: unknown. Age at sexual maturity: unknown. Longevity: 6.5 years in captivity.

Social Behaviour: Little is known, but reports indicate that the species may be gregarious, having been sighted in groups of 3-15 . These may represent extended family groups. Grouping may be incidental, caused by close aggregation of dens in the few areas where denning sites are available. The species is crepuscular/nocturnal.

Diet: Reports suggest an omnivorous diet with a substantial insectivorous component (all above information from Iucn's Canid Specialist Group).

Habitat and Distribution:

The Ruppells Fox inhabits deserts, either stony or sandy. This is the rarest Vulpes in Pakistan. It has only been recorded from two places in Baluchistan. One sighting was in Southern Mekran and the other was in western Baluchistan, near Chaman (T.J Roberts, "Mammals of Pakistan). Other than these two records it has not been sighted anywhere else in Pakistan.

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