Although it became well known in 2010 that all dogs originated from wolves in the Middle East instead of Asia, the fear of them is still very ingrained in the people there. It was over 15,000 years ago that the first non-nomadic hunter/gatherer communities began to intervene in the breeding patterns of wolves, thereby turning them into the first domesticated dogs. But this fact has been long forgotten by many in that region.

There are currently two subspecies of the Gray wolf that live in the Middle East. One is the Iranian wolf which is the only wolf species in the world that is not in danger of extinction. They can be found in diminishing numbers throughout Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The other Middle Eastern wolf is the Arabian wolf, which is found in Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and possibly some parts of the Sinai Peninsula in Eygpt.

Although these wolves are all over the Middle East, there are only two countries that subscribe to the notion that wolves have the right to coexist with man as part of the natural ecosystem. Those two countries are Oman and Israel and they have both given the wolves legal protection. In Israel for example, they have taken extraordinary measures to protect the wolves. Some of these measure include paying for electric fencing, using various species of guard dogs to deter wolves and the government also offers partial compensation for livestock losses. In the country of Oman the wolf population is on the rise. This has been attributed to a hunting ban that was put in place there. Oman has a very strong conservationist stance in comparison to the rest of it's Middle Eastern neighbors.

As for the rest of the Middle Eastern countries such as in Iran, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Syria etc. the wolves are not doing as well. Here they are often looked as a pests that needs to be eradicated. In Saudi Arabia for example, the bodies of wolves can often be seen hanging from billboards as a message. It is widely claimed that many Saudis still kill the wolves as trophies. In other Middle Eastern countries wolves are hunted, poisoned, and run over.

This kind of outlook towards the wolves will not change however until the populations there become better educated. Currently in several of the Middle Eastern countries there are a few environmental organizations that are trying to work with the communities to help them better understand the wolves and their habitats and in turn minimize human and wolf conflicts. Godspeed to these organizations and may there be many more soon.

Responses to "Only 2 countries in the Middle East protect the wolf"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Being part Persian I can't believe that people that I descend from do not recognize the importance and balance to our eco system that wolves provide to us. I became a friend of them years ago when I lived out in what some would say a wilderness area. We had a wolf pack there and they would not approach my property any closer than the tree line which was about 100 feet from my home. I regularly went into the woods, and hiked by myself a good 4 miles to a small creek that ran there. I heard the wolves regularly, but they never bothered our sheep, or our chickens. The dogs stayed close by on our walks and were never let to run off by themselves. I guess it worked, because the wolves never came after them when I was on my long walks to the creek. When the wolves were endangered I know I couldn't keep a garden for all the deer and rabbits getting a free lunch or dinner. Prior to them being hunted, the excess population seemed to pare down and the wire fence seemed to keep them out or maybe the wolves got rid of those around the area. I do know from experience that either this pack or another in my area did drag off a neighbors (he lived 5 miles from me) cow. It had become trapped in some barbed wire and I guess it was an easy pick being separated from the herd... well the 10 he had was his herd :-) I loved listening to them sing and howl at night, moon or not they would. They were beautiful and curious about me, some would take a step forward out of the tree line... I remember one or two doing that, but the rest stayed at the tree line. The brave one's sniffed the air and looked and paced and saw and left as quickly. I wasn't a good choice for food I was mobile. They were stunning to look at, and comforting to know they were there. Living out in wilderness like that (I was 15 miles out from town on the North Shore of Lake Superior)it was kind of comforting as a girl alone, to know they were there. I miss my woodland home, miss the wolves. I live in the city now and have for too long. I hope some day when I get older and move back out where there's air, that there will also be wolves to see, watch, enjoy and help me have a good garden. I eat a lot of greens now :-) Hate to be anonymous... I'm Gloria, and I'm a native Minnesotan transplanted to Seattle!

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