Freestian Wildlife refers to all native species and subspecies within the territories claimed by the Freethinker Commonwealth, and, given the huge annexed areas of the continental Freestian Mainland, includes a wide variety of fauna, including some of the largest and most dangerous animals on Earth.
Freestian species are famous for their percieved ferocity and danger, and Mainland Megafauna in particular is often of significant interest to biologists and tourists alike. The continental size of the various Freethinker territories tends to mean standard restraints on population expansion are limited, and instead several territories, especially the Mainland and more recently Heraklion, have entirely indigenous ecosystems with little or no modern contacts with familiar terran species.
Mainland species are generally characterised by what appears at first glance to be an extreme case of Island Gigantism, and most Freestian species rely upon brute phsyical strength or size as either an attack or defence mechanism, as well as providing a means to support long ranged migrations across the great expanses of the Outback itself. Size increases, though generally detrimental to large herbivores in other places, has been limited by the excessive size differentials and the toughened nature of even the most passive megafauna, and it is notable even the herbivorous are generally dangerous and aggressive animals when confronted or provoked.
Freestian animals represent several extanct superclasses and classes that were thought to be extinct, including synapsids (mammal-like reptiles) among others, and well as new classes within existing superclass groups. The huge avaliable habitat range has allowed the continued development of these groups without the dangers posed by changing climates or encroachment.
There are a number of introduced species noted, from both human and prior settlement or transfer. Usually the harsh nature of the Commonwealth's natural environment induces quick genetic traces and changes, and even in the small human colonisation history it has been noted from actual real time study several different subspecies occurring in a remarkably short space of time.
The Freethinker Ministry of the Interior maintains two rating systems regarding domestic species, one describing the danger posed by the animal in question, and the second regarding the species' status in terms of conservation and endangerment.
Conservation Rating indicates the current level of management and threat to wild population;
- Least Concern: Species needs no management or specialised monitoring, safe and diverse populations across large habitats.
- Managed: Species needs management with regard to either low general breeding numbers or limited habitat range, but unthreatened currently.
- Threatened: Species under potential threat of extinction or endangerment from low population numbers or habitat destruction.
- Endangered: Species under actual threat of outright extinction due to loss of habitat or other factors.
- Critical: Species near extinct and relying on conservation efforts to continue wild population sustainability.
- Extinct in Wild: Species exists only in domesticated, restrained or non-native environments, original habitat population extinct.
- Extinct: Species has no extant specimen left alive.
Danger Rating indicates the actual danger level posed by a creature to a baseline human being, and what skill or authorisation level is required to engage the animal either as tracker or hunter.
- Low: Indicates either a tame or domesticated species
- Standard: Indicates a wild species that presents no general threat to humans unless cornered or provoked
- Potentially Dangerous: Indicates a wild species, usually carnivorous or omnivorous that presents a threat to human beings who are not approriately trained and equipped.
- Dangerous: Indicates a wild species of significant danger to human beings, and require specialised training and high quality or military equipment to hunt and track.
- Extremely Dangerous: Indicates a wild species capable of devastating attacks against humans and settlements in general and requires multiple highly skilled military grade teams to deal with.
A MH (Man Hunter) tag indicates the species is a known manhunter, and generally represent a great threat to tourists, hunters and outback workers in general. For instance Freestian Great Hornets, though less of an overall danger than Sand Dragons, are none the less considered a greater threat due to the fact that humanoids fall within their normal hunting prey size.
- Freestian Great Wolf
- Latin name: Canis Maximus
- Danger Rating: Potentially Dangerous (MH)
- Status Rating: Least Concern
The Freestian Great Wolf or the Giant Wolf is a large canid carnivore, part of the canis family, and one of the largest extanct members of the canidae family anywhere in the world. Related distantly to the Gray Wolf and thought to actually originate from a seperate population than its family relative Canis Rosa. At 1.5 - 1.7 metres at the shoulder and a weight of 300 to 400 kg for a full sized male, these huge wolves hunt in small packs many of the medium and even large herbivores that inhabit the semi-arid plains of the Commonwealth, and the Great Wolf can be found in significant numbers across most of the Freestian outback, their light, dull grey coats well suited to the rocky foothills and steppes that cover large sections of the Freestian interior.
The Great Wolf is big enough to feed on traditional mammalian megafauna, including Taur and Freestian Mustangs. Their speed and agility is impressive for such a large canine, and the wolves have few natural predators despite the variety of huge carnivores that coexist alongside them. Total numbers are estimated at around 800,000 to 1,000,000 individuals, excluding private collections.
The Great Wolf has been interbred with large domestic dog species, and is the genetic forerunner of several large Freestian working dog breeds.
- Pink Wolf
- Latin name: Canis Rosa
- Danger Rating: Standard
- Status Rating: Least Concern
The Pink Wolf is a fairly small canis breed that inhabits several of the lower foothills of mountain ranges in the western Mainland, including the Carassian Mountains and the smaller Fallow's Ridge. The wild population numbers in the low hundreds of thousands (around 250-300,000 extanct individuals) and at least 75 to 100,000 in captivity in zoos and private collections, as well as kept as private pets. The species are roughly comparable in size to the Red Wolf (Canis rufus) and may be related, but this is speculation given the current level of study. The species subside on small rodents and pack hunted medium sized herbivorous prey, and rely upon their rocky and difficult to navigate natural habitat and speed to avoid larger predators. They are a noted prey species for many larger carnivores, notably the distantly related Freestian Great Wolf.
The species is famous for its 'pink' fur, a light pastel hue that blends in remarkably well with the reddish sandstone and dune seas that surround the species' native habitats. Concentrated captive breeding has darkened the hue of this colour in some individuals, and the breed has been used to introduce pink furred varieties of domestic dogs for the domestic and foreign pet markets.