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South AmericaManed wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus

Maned Wolf - © Rogerio Cunha

Maned Wolf Working Group - The Maned Wolf Working Group is an organization within the IUCN’s Canid Specialist Group created as a tool to improve the communication among the countries where the maned wolf occurs. It is composed of researchers from several areas of interest aiming to work in collaboration to dicuss and implement strategies for a better assessment of information and reduction of impacts related to the largest South American canid species.

ProjectsRelevant LinksReports / PapersOther Names

English: Maned Wolf

Spanish: Aguara Guazu, Borochi, Lobo De Crin

French: Loup À Crinière

Near Threatened

Listed as Near Threatened as the current global population is estimated to number ~13,000 mature individuals, and is thought likely to experience a continuing decline nearing 10% over the coming decade largely as a result of ongoing habitat loss and degradation, road kills and other threats (see Paula et al. 2008). Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C.

The Maned Wolf inhabits the grasslands and scrub forest of central South America from the mouth of the Parnaiba River in north-eastern Brazil, south through the Chaco of Paraguay into Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, and west to the Pampas del Heath in Peru (Dietz 1985). Beccaceci (1992) found evidence of Maned Wolves in Argentina as far south as the 30th parallel, and a sighting in the province of Santiago del Estero was recently reported (Richard et al. 1999). They probably range into northern Uruguay. Their presence in this country was confirmed through a specimen trapped in 1990 (Mones and Olazarri 1990), but there have not been any reports of sightings since that date (S. Gonzalez pers. comm.).

A population and habitat viability assessment workshop held in 2005 estimated the total population of Maned Wolves at ~23,600 animals, including 21,746 in Brazil, 880 in Argentina, and 660 in Argentina (Paula et al. 2008). Numbers in Bolivia are unlikely to exceed 1000 animals. With their primarily solitary habits and large home ranges, Maned Wolves are found in low densities throughout the range.

Population trend:Unknown

(Maned wolf range map)
(Click on map for more detail)

Habitat and Ecology:
Maned Wolves favour tall grasslands, shrub habitats, woodland with an open canopy (cerrado), and wet fields (which may be seasonally flooded). Some evidence indicates that they may prefer areas with low to medium shrub density (Bestelmeyer 2000). Maned Wolves are also seen in lands under cultivation for agriculture and pasture. Daytime resting areas include gallery forests (Dietz 1984), cerrado and marshy areas near rivers (Bestelmeyer 2000; F. Rodrigues unpubl.). There is some evidence that they can utilize cultivated land for hunting and resting (A. Jácomo and L. Silveira, unpubl.), but additional studies are essential in order to quantify how well the species tolerates intensive agricultural activity.

Omnivorous, consuming principally fruits and small- to medium-sized vertebrates. Numerous authors (Dietz 1984; Carvalho and Vasconcellos 1995; Motta-Júnior et al. 1996; Azevedo and Gastal 1997; Motta-Júnior 1997; Rodrigues et al. 1998; Jácomo 1999; Santos 1999; Silveira 1999; Juarez and Marinho 2002; F. Rodrigues unpubl.) have investigated the diet of the Maned Wolf. These studies have all found a wide variety of plant and animal material in the diet, with about 50% of the diet comprising plant material and 50% animal matter. The fruit Solanum lycocarpum grows throughout much of the range and is a primary food source; other important items include small mammals (Caviidae, Muridae, Echimydae) and armadillos, other fruits (Annonaceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Bromeliaceae and others), birds (Tinamidae, Emberizidae and others), reptiles and arthropods. Although the frequency of plant and animal items found in faecal samples is approximately equal, the biomass of animal items is usually greater than that of plant items (Motta-Júnior et al. 1996; Santos 1999; F. Rodrigues unpubl.). Certain items, such as rodents and Solanum, are consumed year round, but the diet varies with food availability. At least occasionally, pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) are also consumed (Bestelmeyer and Westbrook 1998). In Jácomo's (1999) study, deer appeared in 2.4% of 1,673 samples analysed.

Major Threats:

The most significant threat to Maned Wolf populations is the drastic reduction of habitat, especially due to conversion to agricultural land (Fonseca et al. 1994). In addition, habitat fragmentation causes isolation of subpopulations. Many Maned Wolves are killed on the nation's roads. Highways border many of the Conservation Units of the Brazilian cerrado, and drivers often do not respect speed limits. Reserves close to urban areas often have problems with domestic dogs. These dogs pursue and may kill Maned Wolves and can also be an important source of disease. Domestic dogs also possibly compete with the Maned Wolf for food. Interactions with humans also pose a threat to the Maned Wolf. Diseases, such as those mentioned above, can be important causes of mortality in the wild, but there is very little information available about the health of wild populations. In areas where there are domestic dogs, the problem is certainly greater.

There is no commercial use. Indications are that the use of Maned Wolf parts for medicinal purposes does not involve any sort of large-scale commercial transactions and is confined to native folk medicine.

Conservation Actions:

It is included on CITES Appendix II. Protected in Argentina (classified as Endangered on the Red List) and included on the list of threatened animals in Brazil (Bernardes et al. 1990). Hunting is prohibited in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. Maned wolves are protected by law in many parts of their range, but enforcement is frequently problematic. Included in the United States Endangered Species list.

The species occurs in many protected areas in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and, possibly, Peru.

Assessors are not aware of any conservation actions specific to the Maned Wolf. However, they are the beneficiaries of broader attempts to protect the cerrado (for example, recent actions to reduce the impact of road kills in Brasilia).

Occurrence in captivity
As of 31 December 1999, 144 institutions reported a total of 412 maned wolves in captivity, including 203 males and 209 females.

Gaps in knowledge:

Population surveys throughout the species' range are needed. The impact of human encroachment on suitable habitat is not clearly understood, and the suitability of agricultural land as maned wolf habitat needs to be investigated. The impact of disease processes on wild populations is not well understood.