The Wildlife Conservation Society WCS, has disclosed that their trap cameras have captured images of the African wolf, canis lupaster. The species, which was previously misclassified as the golden jackal, canis aureus, were identified by Australian biologist who specialises in big cats, Dr Luke Hunter who also is the Executive Director, Big Cats Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. The images, captured in the Yankari Game Reserve in the northeastern part of Nigeria, show a pair of the cats walking together near a path in the game reserve.
Canis lupaster was hitherto 2015 classified as an African variant of the the canis aureus, with a subspecies (Canis anthus lupaster) classified as a wolf. But in 2015, some professional DNA analyses on the species showed that it was actually different and distinct from the canis aureus, the golden jackal.
The cats were captured making use of trap camera. Field biologists Nacha Geoffrey and Nuradeen Ahmed are leading the camera trap crew.
“We believe that this camera trap photo from Yankari Game Reserve in northern Nigeria may be the overlooked African wolf Canis lupaster. Previously misclassified as a subspecies of the golden jackal C. aureus,” WCS Nigeria said this afternoon.
The WCS, which was established 125 years ago to sensitise human societies about the need to preserve wildlife in the face of accelerated urbanisation. It has come a long way to become the global authority in conservation, and has many conservation programs in different parts of the world.