The Hokkaido Wolf (also known as Ezo Wolf in Japan) is one of two extinct wolves. The other is the Honshu wolf.
The Ezo wolf was a distinct subspecies, and had a more traditionally more wolf-like appearance than its southern cousin, the Honshū wolf. The skull was large and formidable, with long, curved canines, and the body dimensions were similar to that of grey wolves. The Ezo wolf was typically grey in coloration and significantly larger than the wolves of Honshū.
The Japanese wolf met its demise in the same way that many other animals did—at the hands of foreign intervention, for being a pest to livestock. A man named Edwin Dun, hired by the Japanese, dropped a little strychnine and greatly facilitated their downfall. The Honshu died off in 1905 and the Hokkaido in 1889.Despite being dead, a Japanese wolf managed to turn up in 1910. And the 1930s. And, again, in the 1950s.If that wasn’t enough, there have also been sightings in the 1990s. One theory is that the animals seen—and heard howling—are actually a wolf-dog hybrid. That’s certainly plausible, but are they a breeding population? Or is it more likely that the Japanese wolf is indeed still roaming the Japanese countryside?
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