The new Canid Action Plan - Conserving wild canids from the tiny fennec fox to the mighty grey wolf

11 October 2004 | News story

Gland, Switzerland (11.10.2004) IUCN-The World Conservation Union. Canids, that is foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs, are found throughout most of the world, and occur on every continent except Antarctica. As carnivores, they often conflict with human interests because certain species will prey on domestic livestock. The more prolific and adaptable species, such as the red fox and coyote, have fared well despite this, but more specialist species, like the Ethiopian wolf have suffered and nine of the 36 recognized canid species are threatened with extinction. With human populations continuing to grow, the pressure on many species will undoubtedly increase.

In light of this, Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan has been prepared by the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s Canid Specialist Group. As its name implies, the Plan aspires to identify important conservation actions and to plan for their implementation. It discusses major issues in the conservation of this fascinating group of species, many of which have had a long association with mankind. Among the issues covered are the management of canids near people, conservation education, captive breeding, re-introduction and population management.

This publication updates the first Canid Action Plan published in 1990, and aims to set the agenda for canid conservation into the 21st century. The first two parts deal with the classification and evolutionary ecology of the canids followed by the latest information on their distribution, biology and conservation status. Currently nine species are threatened with extinction; three are Critically Endangered (Darwin ’s fox, red wolf and island fox), three are Endangered (Ethiopian wolf, African wild dog and dhole) and three are Vulnerable (dingo, bush dog and Blandford’s fox). Part three of the Plan considers major issues in canid conservation, including exploitation and disease management and part four outlines the actions needed.

Yearling male dingo. Strathmore Station, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, 1997 - courtesy of Lee AllenThe projects and actions that are the priorities for canid conservation for the next 10 years are presented in a simple summary format. A realistic list of measures has been identified, ones that have a good chance of being implemented to improve the conservation status of canids, rather than an idealistic “wish list”.

Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan aims to stimulate the conservation of canids by highlighting problems, debating priorities and suggesting action. It will be invaluable to conservation biologists, ecologists, administrators and anyone dealing with wild canids in their work.

The publication can be purchased from the IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom, Phone: +44/1/223-277894, Fax: +44/1/223-277175, E-mail: info@books.iucn.org, or in North America from Island Press, Box 7, Covelo, California 95428, USA, Phone: 1/800/828-1302, Fax: 1/707/983-6414, or through the on-line World Conservation Bookstore. Alternatively, it can also be downloaded in pdf format here.

For more information contact:

Anna Knee or Andrew McMullin, IUCN/SSC Communications Officers, alk@iucn.org or mcmullina@iucn.org; Tel: ++41 22 999 0153


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.