The number of wolf territories has increased year from year

12. 2. 2021 -

According to the unique field monitoring of carnivores, in 2020 there were, at least partially, twenty-two wolf territories in the Czech Republic. Nineteen of them were in the border areas, some of them only slightly encroached upon our territory. In fourteen cases, it was found that there were packs, which in our conditions usually number 4-6 individuals. Compared to 2019 [1], the number of territories increased by four, the number of packs by one.


The movement DUHA Olomouc, Mendel University in Brno, the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague, the Šumava National Park Administration, and the Agency for Nature and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic participate in the monitoring and field research. The cross-border territories were consulted with the Polish association WILK, the OWAD project partners from Saxony, and the Veterinary University of Vienna. Genetic analyses were performed by the Faculty of Science of Charles University, the Czech University of Agriculture, and the CEwolf consortium.

The map is based on proven cases of wolf reproduction documented by photo traps or genetic analysis, or on repeated credible findings of footprints and faeces, from which the presence of the territory could be confirmed. The map does not include data on random observations of individual wolves, whose brief occurrence cannot be ruled out in most of the Czech Republic due to the high mobility of the species. This data also needs to be evaluated, but it is not relevant for determining the number of populated territories.

The data refers to the so-called wolf year 2019/2020, which covers the period from May 2019 to the end of April 2020, and corresponds better to the breeding cycle of wolves than the calendar year: wolves are usually born in April.

Wolves most often come to the Czech Republic from the north - from the Central European lowland population, whose centre is in western Poland and Germany. However, at least one telemetrically marked female wolf came to us from Austria, after she covered at least 430 km on her way to the Doupov Mountains [2]. So far, wolves from the Slovak and Polish Carpathians are spreading to Moravia and Silesia. More detailed information on individual packs is available at www.mapa.selmy.cz, details on the Czech-Saxon border can be found on the OWAD project website.

"Ten years ago, who would have thought that over 20 wolf territories would be encroaching upon the Czech Republic in 2020, and that these predators, for the second year in a row, would be raising their young 80 kilometres from Amsterdam? Wolves have shown admirable adaptability to life in the cultural landscape of Central and Western Europe. Coexistence with wild predators is a constant challenge for reconciling the interests of nature conservation and agriculture, "said Miroslav Kutal, an academic at Mendel University in Brno and the head of the Predators program in the DUHA movement.

According to Pavel Hulva from the Faculty of Science of Charles University, genetic data helped to reveal further encounters of previously isolated wolf populations in the Czech Republic, as well as the movement of wolves across borders with neighbouring states. "Nevertheless, the genetic variability of this species is still lower in our country than, for example, in neighbouring Slovakia. It is therefore important to maintain the possibility of the landscape ensuring the influx of new genes. Last year there was no evidence of hybridization with dogs.

It is positive that, despite the documented cases of mortality due to traffic and poaching, wolves still manage to find partners exclusively within their own species," said Hulva.

"This year's results clearly confirm the trend in settlement of the northern border mountains, where there is a clear influence from the population that arose on the border of Poland and Germany. The fact that Central Europe is a crossroads is also confirmed by several long-distance movements of wolves. A wolf appeared in the Ore Mountains, who was first caught near Hamburg; a young wolf from the Ore Mountains was run over near Nuremberg, etc. A very interesting record is also the movement of a young female wolf from Upper Austria to the Doupov Mountains, where she probably found a mate. Thanks to the fact that she passed through Central Europe with a telemetry collar, she left behind a significant mark, both scientifically and for conservation - we know very well when and where exactly she passed and what places she avoided. This also documents the fact that wolves are able to move quickly and over long distances even in our highly fragmented landscape," adds Aleš Vorel, an academic worker at the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague, leader of the Czech-Saxon OWAD project.

 

Comments:
[1] More information about wolf territories in the 2018/2019 season can be found in last year's press release: https://www.selmy.cz/tiskove-zpravy/pocet-vlcich-smecek-se-za-rok-zvysil-do-ceska-zasahuje-osmnact-vlcich-teritorii/

[2] Details on the movement of a telemetrically monitored wolf from Austria can be found here:https://www.selmy.cz/clanky/vlcice-z-rakouska-presla-do-doupovskych-hor/

Contact for more information: Miroslav Kutal, expert on large carnivores of the DUHA movement and academic staff member of the Faculty of Forest Ecology of Mendel University in Brno, 728 832 889, miroslav.kutal@hnutiduha.cz, 

Pavel Hulva, molecular ecologist and academic staff member of the Faculty of Science, Charles University, 608 676 877, hulva@natur.cuni.cz, 

Aleš Vorel, academic staff member of the Faculty of the Environment ČZU and head of the OWAD project, 605 281 401, vorel@fzp.czu.cz

 

Welcome to Brno and study in English