“Wolf Ridge” is a comparatively new enclosure to Blackpool Zoo which utilised an undeveloped woodland area of the park. Iberian wolves originate in Europe from the Iberian Peninsula and are lighter in weight than the better-known North American timber wolves. They also have a finer, less dense coat as temperatures are much warmer.
Iberian wolves have different markings from other European wolf species. This is reflected in their scientific name, signatus, which means “signed” or “marked”. Their rich, dark colouring offers them perfect camouflage amongst the trees when hunting or trying to avoid being hunted. Their numbers have been so depleted by the expansion of farming taking up their territory and illegal hunting, often by local farmers, that they are now classified as “critically endangered” in the wild.
Wolves live in packs led by the alpha male and female. Second in charge is the beta wolf and the lowest ranking, and usually most submissive, is the omega wolf. They can live for about 6 to 8 years in the wild, but up to 16 in captivity. A typical litter comprises 4 to 7 cubs.