Dubai: Clarifying reports about an Arabian Wolf that has attacked a farmer in Fujairah, animal experts said that the predator was not an Arabian Wolf but an oversized Arabian Fox.
Dr Reza Khan, a wildlife specialist at Dubai Municipality, explained that the Arabian Fox is a subspecies of the Red Fox, whose weight varies from 2.5 to 4.5 kilogrammes, and smaller than the Arabian Wolf.
It was earlier reported that a farmer was bitten on the leg by a wolf as he fended it off from his sheep.
“I haven’t heard of sighting of an Arabian Wolf in the last few decades in the UAE although it is reported from parts of Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring countries,” he said.
“I have been living in the UAE for 30 years and as far as I know, only Dubai Zoo had a female living Arabian Wolf, which was collected from the Dubai desert in the mid 1970s and remained alive in the zoo till the mid-1990s,” Dr Khan said.
He pointed out that the Arabian Wolf is a pale brown or grey-brown carnivore with white eye mask and no red on its body. It is almost double the size of foxes and weighs up to 20 kilogramme. This is a subspecies of widely distributed Grey Wolf that can attain a maximum size of 79 kilogramme.
As a desert subspecies of wolf, Arabian Wolf is the smallest and palest of all, but still several times larger than a fox. It looks more like a smaller version of popular breed of Alsatian or German Shepherd dog.
Dr Khan also noted that there were a pack of wolves at Al Ain Zoo from the 1980s-90s, though they were not a pure breed.
“Wild carnivores, primates and bats are known to carry the rabies virus. So, when people are bitten by a wild canine or other such animals, caution must be taken and victims should be observed by proper physician to look out for any signs of rabies. In many countries such victims are often given anti-rabies vaccines,” he added.