Grey wolf

Canis lupus





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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern NEAR THREATENED Vulnerable Endangered Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Canis lupus


Linnaeus, 1758



Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

NT, D1

Date assessed

December 2020


Dime Melovski

Aleksandar Stojanov

Aleksandar Pavlov


Josip Kusak


Vasko Avukatov


Marteen P.G. Hofman


The wolf population in North Macedonia requires a solid management plan based on structured monitoring. Due to the non-existent management plan for large carnivores, and particularly wolf, the population cannot be assessed properly. This implies that distribution and population size of wolf could only be assessed by the sporadic and anecdotal presence and population status. On the other hand, there is an excessive pressure ensuing from pest animal control, poorly-managed hunting system, lack of appropriate conservation measures, and possibly dog-wolf hybridisation, which may threaten the wolf population on national level in near future. According to Criteria D1, wolf is close to qualifying for the Vulnerable category. Therefore, considering the population estimates close to Vulnerable threshold, the ongoing threats and lack of proper management, wolf population on national level is listed in the category Near Threatened (NT).


Current population trend



Official published data suggests that wolf population in North Macedonia consists of 466 individuals (State Statistical Office, 2013). Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy (MAFWE) provides unpublished information about presence of 1100-1500 individuals based on data from the general hunting management plan. However, this estimates are based on hunting counts and guesstimates, and do not account for double counts of individuals or packs between neighboring hunting grounds. Therefore, a proper monitoring with recommended field techniques is needed to determine the actual size of the population.
Considering the size of the forested areas in N. Macedonia as the most suitable habitat for the wolf, and the population density of 2,2 individuals per 100 km2 (Kaczensky et al. 2013), our expert estimate is about 400 individuals in the whole country.
Based on the official and experts estimates, the wolf population size in N. Macedonia is considered to be in the range of 400–1100 individuals.
The population trend is considered to be stable, but this is also an expert guesstimate due to lack of proper monitoring. Our camera-trapping data implies that the wolf population might be declining. Again, proper and specific monitoring needs to take place sooner rather than later.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Wolves are highly adaptable and inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, shrublands, grasslands, pastures, inland waters and steppe-like areas. Occasionally, wolves can be found close to human settlements and in the grasslands. Most of the data collected on wolf presence throughout N. Macedonia confirm that wolves prefer forested areas with occasional sallies in lowland agricultural areas close to the villages.

Use and trade

Use and trade

As the wolf is considered a pest animal, there is a reward of about 50 euro for each killed individual. There are many stuffed animals displayed in restaurants or in private collections. Furthermore, commercial wolf hunting for foreign hunters is organized in some hunting grounds in the central-south Macedonia.



Main threats to wolf population in North Macedonia include hunting and habitat fragmentation. One possible threat could be wolf-dog hybridisation.
Wolf is considered as pest game species and hence hunted throughout the year. Moreover, wolf hunting is stimulated by rewards of about 50 euro for each individual killed.
Conflicts with humans is another serious problem. Wolf is responsible for most of the damages on livestock and, therefore, people have strong negative opinion about wolf and will use any means to eliminate it.
Poison baits are one example. Habitat fragmentation is not as severe threat at present, but with the new infrastructure projects, it may become very serious problem. Presence of dark wolf individuals was recorded in several areas, which may hint to ongoing wolf-dog hybridisation in the country.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

The wolf is listed in Annexes II, IV and V of the EU Habitats Directive, and it is listed as strictly protected species in Annex II of the Bern Convention.



Boitani, L. Phillips, M. and Jhala, Y. 2018 in press. Canis lupus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018(2).

Boitani, L., Alvarez, F., Anders, O., Andrén, H., Avanzinelli, E., Balys, V. Blanco, J., Breitenmoser, U., Chapron, G., Ciucci, P., Dutsov, A., Groff, C., Huber, D., Ionescu, O., Knauer, F., Kojola, I., Kubala, J., Kutal, M., Linnell, J., Majic, A., Mannil, P., Manz, R., Marucco, F., Melovski, D., Molinari, A., Norberg, H., Nowak, S., Ozolins, J., Palazon, S., Potocnik, H., Quenette, P.-Y., Reinhardt, I., Rigg, R., Selva, N., Sergiel, A., Shkvyria, M., Swenson, J., Trajce, A., von Arx, M., Wolfl, M., Wotschikowsky, U. and Zlatanova, D. 2015. Key actions for Large Carnivore populations in Europe. Report to DG Environment, European Commission, Bruxelles. Contract no. 07.0307/2013/654446/SER/B3. Institute of Applied Ecology, Rome, Italy.

Kaczensky P., Chapron, G., von Arx, M., Huber, D., Andrén C.H. and Linnell, J. 2013. Status, management and distribution of large carnivores – bear, lynx, wolf and wolverine – in Europe. Instituto di Ecologia Applicata and with contributions of the IUCN/SSC Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe.

Kryštufek, B. & Petkovski, S. 2003. Annotated Checklist of the Mammals of the Republic of Macedonia. Bonner zoologische Beiträge 51: 229-254.

Linnell, J., Salvatori, V. and Boitani, L. 2008. Guidelines for population level management plans for large carnivores in Europe. A Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe report prepared for the European Commission, Rome.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

State statistical office of the Republic of Macedonia, 2015. Forestry 2014.: 29.