Wolves migrate long distances, indicates killed roe deer near Radonice

Joint press release of AOPK CR and the OWAD project

Wolves migrate long distances, indicates killed roe deer near Radonice

Prague, February 12, 2020 - On Monday, February 10, the member of the OWAD [1] project from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague was contacted by a hunting farmer from a hunting ground in Radonice on the northeastern outskirts of Prague with an unusual finding - a roe deer carcass that seems to be killed by wolf. A university worker took samples from the roe deer, which are now going for genetic analysis.

"If it's really a wolf, it's probably an individual looking for new territory. Wolves spread over long distances and, in search of new territories, cover hundreds of kilometers, they can walk in close proximity to cities and settlements. It is not unusual, our landscape is highly urbanized and the animals sometimes logically get to urban areas during their journey," explains František Pelc, director of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. This is not the first finding of wolf presence in the region - for example, a dead wolf was recently found near Turnov, last year a wolf was shot near the village of Konětopy in the Mělník region, the year before last on the D10 motorway near Brod.

The wolf is a very adaptable animal and can live in a cultural and man-changed landscape. Nevertheless, it maintains shyness and avoids clashes with humans. "Let's look at neighboring Germany. Several packs move around large cities - near Dresden, Leipzig or near Hannover. However, there are no clashes with humans," notes Aleš Vorel, an expert at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Faculty of the Environmental Sciences [2].

The Saxons also tracked several wolves telemetrically with a GPS transmitter that regularly reported a signal. One of them, named "Alan", covered 1,550 km in search of new territory and during his six-month journey he ran just around Warsaw and Vilnius [3]. That is why telemetric research is so important - it provides unique data on the movement and habits of the observed animals.

"It is often possible to analyze predator DNA from prey remains, but it depends on the time that has elapsed since the attack, the ambient temperature, the method of sampling and many other factors. The results of genetic tests should be available by the end of the week. If the wolf is proven, monitoring of the area will continue. In early spring, however, in the case of wolves in an atypical environment, the most probable variant is that it is a young animal that just passes through the area, as was the case, for example, with an individual killed on the D1 highway in 2017," concludes Pavel Hulva, an expert from Charles University.

In nature, wolves play an important role - they help reduce the number of overpopulated wild boar, deer and roe deer, which cause great damage in forests and fields. In the Czech Republic, if wolves cause damage to livestock of farmers, the state reimburses them. At the same time, it provides subsidies for herd security. More at www.navratvlku.cz.

In order to minimize the conflicts that the return of wolves to our landscape brings (because farmers have become accustomed to the presence of large carnivores), the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic has prepared a so-called Management Program. Its goal is to set up measures in the landscape that would allow wolves to spread naturally and create a viable population - while minimizing the damage and conflict that human-wolf coexistence brings. The program mainly addresses the following issues: financing of preventive measures, a functional system for the payment of damages, the issue of so-called bold individuals, an unified monitoring system and objective information to the public. It is currently being discussed by the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture.

[1] The three-year project is dedicated to sharing experience in wolf conservation ("Objective Wolves Acceptance in human-altered cross boundary lanDscapes - OWAD"). The Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of the Environment and the Senckenberg Museum of Natural Sciences in Görlitz are participating. It focuses on specifying information on the occurrence and spread of wolves in the Czech Republic, a conceptual approach to their protection and mitigation of conflicts that the return of wolves may have. The project area is the Karlovy Vary, Ústí nad Labem and Liberec regions. The OWAD project was supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund under the Cross-border Cooperation Program Czech Republic - Free State of Saxony 2014-2020.
[2] DBBW - Dokumentation- und Beratungsstelle des Bundes zum Thema Wolf (Information and Documentation Center of the Federal Republic of Germany on the subject of the wolf): https://dbb-wolf.de/Wolfsvorkommen/territorien/karte-der-territorien
[3] Reinhardt, I. and Kluth, G. (2011): Pilot study on abandonment and the preparation of wolves in Germany. https://www.bfn.de/themen/artenschutz/erfassung-und-kartierung/monitoring-grossraubtiere.html

Karolína Šůlová, Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, e-mail: karolina.sulova@nature.cz, tel: 724102406

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