ArticlePDF Available

Legal protection of wolves in Poland: Implications for the status of the wolf population


Abstract and Figures

Legal protection of wolves (Canis lupus) in Poland was implemented in 1998 after 23years of management as a game species. Wolves occurring in Poland were interconnected with larger populations in the Carpathian Mountains and Belarus, Baltic States and Russia, stable in numbers, and were not considered endangered before the change in legal status affording protection from hunting. Parties calling for wolf protection wanted to stop killing of wolves because of their symbolic nature, but did not have particular management goals to achieve. The government did not accompany the change in legal status by management plan, and therefore, the ban on wolf hunting was weakly enforced. A wolf distribution monitoring demonstrated that wolf range had not expanded 9years after the hunting ban was implemented, and no increase in wolf numbers was observed. This failure to recover may be explained by: (1) a significant (up to 35%) reduction in the wolves’ prey base 6years before wolf hunting was stopped, (2) weak enforcement of the protection law, resulting in lack of poaching control of wolves, (3) probable increasing fragmentation and isolation of wolf habitat caused by rapid economic growth in Poland. Inconsistent application of current management policy toward wolves resulted in weak enforcement of regulations and promoted negative attitudes toward the species. To improve the status of wolves in Poland, I recommend a flexible wolf management planning framework that involves and addresses attitudes of hunters and sheep herders, includes a framework to promote strong law enforcement, and consistent, fair compensation for livestock killed by wolves.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Legal protection of wolves in Poland: implications
for the status of the wolf population
Roman Gula
Received: 18 August 2006 / Revised: 28 June 2007 / Accepted: 9 July 2007 / Published online: 15 August 2007
Springer-Verlag 2007
Abstract Legal protection of wolves (Canis lupus)in
Poland was implemented in 1998 after 23 years of
management as a game species. Wolves occurring in Poland
were interconnected with larger populations in the Carpa-
thian Mountains and Belarus, Baltic States and Russia,
stable in numbers, and were not considered endangered
before the change in legal status affording protection from
hunting. Parties calling for wolf protection wanted to stop
killing of wolves because of their symbolic nature, but did
not have particular management goals to achieve. The
government did not accompany the change in legal status
by management plan, and therefore, the ban on wolf
hunting was weakly enforced. A wolf distribution monitor-
ing demonstrated that wolf range had not expanded 9 years
after the hunting ban was implem ented, and no increase in
wolf numbers was observed. This failure to recover may be
explained by: (1) a significant (up to 35%) reduction in the
wolves prey base 6 years before wolf hunting was stopped,
(2) weak enforcement of the protection law, resulting in
lack of poaching control of wolves, (3) probable increasing
fragmentation and isolation of wolf habitat caused by rapid
economic growth in Poland. Inconsistent application of
current management policy toward wolves resulted in weak
enforcement of regulations and promoted negative attitudes
toward the species. To improve the status of wolves in
Poland, I recommend a flexible wolf management planning
framework that involves and addresses attitudes of hu nters
and sheep herders, includes a framework to promote strong
law enforcement, and consistent, fair compensation for
livestock killed by wolves.
Keywords Depredation
Canis lupus
Okarma (1993) described the post War World II history of
wolf management in Poland. Due to a noticeable increase in
the wolf population after the war, the Polish government
organized a wolf killing campaign that included using
poisons and payment of a bounty on every wolf killed. As a
result, the wolf population declined from 7001,000 to
<100 indiv iduals by the late 1960s. Many naturalists and
hunters expressed concern that the low population size
threatened the species survival in Poland, and the cam-
paign was terminated in 1973. By 1975, the wolfs legal
status was upgraded from pest to game species. However,
wolf hunting continued year round, and hunting season
closures were only established in areas with lower wolf
densities. A limited hunting season w as established
throughout the coun try by 1981. Between 1975 and 1989,
10 to 211 wolves were killed annually, averagi ng 100 (SD=
57.6) individuals each year (Okarma 1993). During this
period, official wolf population estimates increased from
less than 100 and stabilized at 850950 individuals
(Okarma 1993).
Wolf hunting was first abandoned in 1989 in the
Białowieża Forest due to pressure from local scientists
Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170
DOI 10.1007/s10344-007-0129-8
Communicated by P. Krausman
R. Gula
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Wilcza 64,
Warsaw, Poland
R. Gula (*)
Gombrowicza 5/12 38-700,
Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland
(Okarma and Jędr zejewski 1996). In 1993, the lo cal
governor extended wolf protection by closing huntin g
seasons throughout the entire Bialystok Province. By
1995, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural
Resources and Forestry (presently Ministry of Env iron-
ment; ME) designated the wolf as a protected species in
Poland. However, hunting continued in three provinces
(Krosno, Przemyśl, and Suwałki), which held the majority
of Polish wolves until 1998 when full protection from
hunting was extended throughout the country.
I analyze the rationale for legal protection of the wolf in
Poland, describe operation of Polands wolf manage ment
system under legal protections, evaluate the influence of
9 years of protection on the status of the countrys wolf
population, and present recommendations for future wolf
management strategies in Poland.
Materials and methods
I evaluated the effectiveness of Polandswolfprotection
system by reviewing published legal regulations and
unpublished data and documents on file at State and
Provincial Conservation Offices and by interviewing the
Regional Directorate of State Forestry in Krosno and Forest
District game managers within the Bieszczady Mountains. I
collected information on the wolf depredation compensation
system and level of wolflivestock conflicts by evaluating
wolf depredation cases for 1998 within the Bia łystok
Province and between 2000 and 2004 in Podkarpackie
Province (Gula 2008). I obtained additional information on
wolf depredation from published and unpublished reports on
file at Provincial Conservation Offices. I evaluated wolf
distribution and numbers using published results from the
Białowieża wolf research program (Okarma et al. 1998a;
Jędrzejewski et al. 2000; Theuerkauf et al. 2003), a tracking
survey by Śmietana and Wajda (1997) in the Bieszczady
Mountains, annual Forest Administration animal censuses
(unpublished data reports of Forest Administration), a
statewide wolf census (Gula et al. 2002;Jędrzejewski et al.
2002;Gula2008), data of Mammal Research Institute,
Polish Academy of Sciences available on (http://www.zbs., and data from ongoing wolf research
conducted in the Bieszczady Mountains (Pirga and Gula
2005;Gula2008; Theuerkauf et al. 2007).
Results and discus sion
Rationale for legal protection
After designation as a game species in 1975, wolf numbers
grew considerably, reaching a level of 850950 individuals
by 1985 (Okarma 1993; Bobek et al. 2001). Although
accuracy of population estimates obtained during annual
censuses conducted by hunters and foresters was disputed,
the increasing population trend was widely accepted by
scientists and managers.
One indication of the increase in Polands wolf popula-
tion was its range expansion (Wolsan et al.
1992). In the
early 1970s, when wolves were nearly extinct, their range
had been reduced to the eastern part of the Polish
Carpathians, a few forest districts in Roztocze, and several
forest complexes of Podlasie (Fig. 1). After 1975, wolf
range slowly expanded, reaching its maxi mum in the mid
1980s when wolves appeared in western Poland. Okarma
(1993) estimated Polands wolf range encompassed
160,000 km
in the early 1990s, but he calculated the
range as the sum of all land area within those provinces in
which wolves were recorded. In reality, wolf habitat was
limited to discrete, fragmented forest complexes, and actual
area used by wolves was much smaller. For example, in
western Poland, wolf habitat was and still is limited to a
few forest compl exes which constitute only a small amount
of the area within the province. Thus, the area used by
wolves before legal protection was much smaller than
claimed by Okarma (1993) and was limited to: (1) the
Polish Carpathian Mountains and Roztocze which was part
of the continuous Carpathian population (Perzanowski and
Gula 2002); (2) several forest complexes in northeastern
and eastern Poland where wolf habitats were interconnected
with occupied wolf habitat in Belarus, the Baltic States, and
Russia (Jędrzejewska et al. 1996); and (3) two forest
complexes in western Poland (Notecka Forest and Zielona
Góra Woods)which was quite isolated from the majority
Fig. 1 Distribution of wolves in Poland
164 Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170
of occupied wolf habitat in the country (Fig. 1). Addition-
ally, lone nomadic wolves were observed in other forests in
central and northern Poland.
Wolf density estimates based on snow tracking surveys
or radiotelemetry monitoring were available only from the
Białowieża Forest and the Bieszczady Mountains (Jędrzejewska
et al. 1996; Śmietan a and Wajda 1997;Okarmaetal.1998a).
Wolf densities obtained by snow tracking in the Białowieża
Forest from 19801993 ranged from two to three individuals
per 100 km
. Similar results were obtained between 1994
and 1998 when up to four packs were monitored by radio-
telemetry within the same region (Okarma et al. 1998a).
Snow tracking surveys by Śmietana and Wajda (1997)inthe
Bieszczady Mountains, part of the Polish Carpathians,
produced higher density estimates ranging between 3.5 and
5.1 individuals per 100 km
After the wolf was listed as a game species in 1975, wolf
harvests declined to a few individuals, but rebounded to 90
per year within a few years. In 1982, a period of rapid
harvest increase began that peaked with over 200 individ-
uals taken during the 19871988 hunting season (Okarma
1993) before dropping to about 100 annually in the early
1990s. This latest trend of declining harvests paralleled a
decrease in governmental estimates of wolf numbers, which
was recognized as a true decrease caused by overhunting
(Okarma 1993; Śmietana 1994). By the mid 1990s, before
implementation of wolf protection, wolf numbers were
estimated at 700900, and annual harvests remained less
than 100 individuals (Okarma et al. 1998b).
The major arguments used during the wolf protection
campaign in the 1990s were emotional and focused on
stopping hunting of a symbolic animal. There were many
animal rights groups from Western Europe involved in the
campaign (Głowaciński 1994; Bobek et al. 1994). Some
biological- and management-based arguments were
expressed by wolf experts. Okarma (1993, p 156) called
for a need to consider the wolf as an endangered species
and stressed the necessity of its countrywide protection. In
19941995, leaders of three major wolf research teams
discussed the need for legal wolf protection in a popular
hunter magazine (Bobek et al. 1994, 1995a; Okarma 1994;
Śmietana 1994). Bobek et al. (1994, 1995a) presented high
wolf population esti mates and called for continued wolf
control. They argued that legal protection for wolves was
not needed to improve population status, and doubted that
protection would be enforced. Śmietana ( 1994) stressed the
need for: (1) limiting the hunting season to 3 months, (2)
stopping hunting of wolves with fladry (flagging strung
along ropes to direct the movements of wolves toward
hunters; also used for live trapping wolves as described in
Okarma and Jędrzejewski 1997), (3) ending wolf hunting in
forests west of the Vistula River until that population
expanded in space and numbers, and (4) providing wolf
protection within buffer zones inside National Parks. Only
Okarma ( 1994) called for wolf protection based on the role
of wolves in shaping ungulate population structure and the
positive nature of wolf prey selection. He argued that wolf
hunting causes disturbances in the spatial and social structure
of a wolf population. However, he recommended that the
wolf should still be listed as a game species, but with a year-
round protection period. When describing the wolfsstatus
in the Białowieża Forest, Okarma and Ję
drzejewski (1996)
argued that although the wolfs existence is not endangered,
it should be legally protected (especially in large forest
complexes) because of its important role in ecosystems.
The State Committee for Nature Protection recognized
the wolf as a rare species and recommended limiting the
hunting season to 4 months (NovFeb) with full protection
from hunting in a minimum area encompassing the region
west of the Vi stula river (Głowaciński 1994). These
recommendations were partially implemented in 1995 when
Ministry of Environment restricted wolf hunting to three
eastern provinces (Krosno, Nowy Sącz, and Suwałki). The
recommendation of the State Committee for Nature
Protection did not change between 1994 and 1998. The
decision to protect wolves was made by the Minister of
Environment (ME) in April of 1998. The State Committee for
Nature Protection has subsequently accepted this regulation
(Z. Głowaciński, former president of State Science Committee
for Nature Protection, personal communication).
Although the wolf became protected legally countrywide
in 1998, the new regulation was not followed by an action
plan. Thus, implementation of wolf protection regulations
depended on the existing management structure for pro-
tected species and game management, as all major wolf
prey animals are listed as game species.
Legal protection at work
The system of wildlife management Although the ME
supervises the two administrative units that manage game
and protected species, the units function independently
(Fig. 2). First, the National Conservation Office (NCO) and
its divisions, Provincial Conservation Offices (PCO) are
responsible for general regulations concerning protected
species. PCOs located in the capitals of each Province are
responsible for protected species management within every
Polish province. PCO employees are only stationed in
provincial capital cities, and there is no network of field
stations and wardens at their disposal.
Wolf management activity by N COs and PCOs is
primarily limited to the compensation program. Addition-
ally, when wolf depredation in an area is considered high,
the NCO might decide to remove some wolves by shooting
as a control measure. From 19982004, shooting was
assigned to local hunters and was restricted in terms of time
Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170 165
and place. Hunters were not paid and had no right to keep
wolves they killed as trophies. Although the NCO has
decided to eliminate nuisance wolves on several occasions
in Podkarpackie Province, only one wolf has been shot
under this program, as hunters had little interest in pursuing
wolves in this manner. In 2005, regulations regarding wolf
removal become more flexible and allowed hunters to keep
the trophy and hunt for wolves in the entire area of
specified game management.
Game species, including all ungulates that are major
prey of wolves, are managed in two ways in Poland. The
whole country is divided into small hunting units (up to
50 km
). The State Forest Administration or a private
hunting club manages each unit. Management occurs
according to rules set by the Hunting Association under
general guidan ce of the ME. When the Forest Administra-
tion manages the hunting unit, each forest district (which is
<300 km
, containing several hunting units) has at least one
game warden responsible for game management. The forest
district staff is obliged to monitor population and prescribe
and control harvest. Most of Polands wolf habitat is
administered by forest districts in this fashion.
Hence, the wolf and its prey are managed by two
administrative structures that are ultimately dependent on
the ME. However, work programs are not coordinated.
Moreover the national government (NCO) does not have
good communication with the provincial governmental
agencies (PCOs) responsible for managing protected species.
Therefore, a strong national network of game wardens does
not exist.
Compensation for wolf depredation Legal regulations
concerning wolf protection mandate that all wolf-caused
damage to livestock be compensated by the state. Com-
pensation should b e equal to the fair market value of killed
livestock. Unfortunately, the legislation was not accompa-
nied by statewide regulations containing guidelines for how
the system should be organized. Thus, operation of the
compensation system varies among provinces depending on
how individual PCOs interpret the general regulations.
In 1998, the PCO of Podkarpackie Province assigned
one officer to be responsible for evaluating all potential
wolf kills. The officer was usually assisted by a local
veterinarian and/or forester as he evaluated each case. If
they confirmed that wolves caused the kill, the officer
proposed compensation calculated according to the market
value of the killed animal. The owner was not required to
accept the offered amount, and could sue PCOs for higher
compensation. When the three-man commission deter mined
wolves did not cause the kill, the owner could complain as
well. In 2003, responsibility for evaluating depredation
cases has been transferred to the State Game Guard. The
State Game Guard employs eight wardens working in two
stations located within two largest cities of the Province.
They are equipped with two 4WD vehicles and are
responsible for evaluating damages by wolves, brown
bears, and beavers, and enforcing game regulations. The
wardens were trained in evaluation procedure and gained
necessary experience by proceeding with more than
hundred cases annually. Other provinces with substantial
wolf populations have organized their livestock compensa-
tion systems differently. In Malopolskie Province, an ad
hoc commission consisting of a local veterinarian, forester,
and policeman evaluated wolf kills. Through 2002, the
compensation was paid by the POC according to the
commissions report. Evaluation of potential wolf kills
was not organized in Podlaskie Province between 1998 and
2000, and farmers were not informed about the procedure
for obtaining compensati on. Many farme rs complained
directly to the PCO office and sent photos of kills and
witnesses testimonies as proof of livestock losses to wolves.
Although some farmers obtained compensation because no
consistent process was available, many farmers resorted to
suing the PCO out of frustration.
Prey management policy vs wolf protection Wolves in
Poland prey mostly on wild ungulates, and red deer (Cerus
elaphus) constitute the majority of the wolf diet (Śmietana
and Klimek 1993;Jędrzejewski et al. 2000;Gula2004,
2008). Thus, the red deer management policy directly
Fig. 2 The administrative struc-
ture of wildlife management in
166 Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170
influences reproduction, mortality, and, consequently, the
numbers and distribution of wolves in the state. During the
communist era (before 1989), red deer were managed to
maximize the quantity of animals harvested and the quality
of trophies. These objectives were achieved through exten-
sive supplemental feeding and selective harvest of stags. As
a result, the number of red deer throughout Polandswolf
range was high, estimated at 0.3 to 0.7 individuals/km
(Bobek et al. 1986;Jędrzejewska et al. 1997; Perzanowski
and Krzakiewicz 2000). Red deer management policies
changed in the early 1990s when the Forestry Administration
considered forest damage by red deer to be too high. As a
result, red deer harvest was increased dramatically and the
number of red deer killed doubled in 1991 and 1992. As a
consequence, the red deer population declined by about
35%. Although red deer harvest quotas were again lowered
to their former levels, red deer numbers are still slowly
decreasing (Perzanowski and Krzakiewicz 2000).
Game managers register ungula tes killed by wolves, but
this procedure is limit ed to occasional recovered carcasses
and is not the subject of systematic surveys. Therefore,
managers underestimate the number of ungulates killed by
wolves as they calculate allowab le red deer harvest levels,
resulting in harvest quotas that are higher than intended to
achieve particular management goals (i.e., certain popula-
tion numbers). In spite of underestimation of ungulate
losses to wolves, wol f predation is considered excessive by
game managers, and wolves are considered overabundant
(Krzakiewicz 2002).
The management plan In 1998, a group of biologists and
wolf conservationists prepared The strategy of wolf
population conservation and management in Poland for
the ME (Okarma et al. 1998b). With minor changes, this
document was later distributed among interest groups as a
wolf action plan proposal of the ME (Anonymus 2002).
Unfortunately, the planning process excluded all authori-
ties, organizations, and parties that might be potentially
affected by the wolf presence or arrival. The document had
been criticized, and it was never implemented.
The influence of legal protection on wolf popula tion status
The wolf distribution and numbers Annual wolf population
estimates done by State Forestry Administration and
hunting clubs increased since implementation of legal
protection. However, rapid projected population growth
suggests estimates may be artifacts used to garner support
by the anti-wolf campaign because they are not based upon
reliable population estimates. For example, the number of
wolves estimated by State Forestry Administration of the
Krosno District increased from about 300 in 1997 to almost
500 by 2000. The census done before wolf protection may
have been an overestimate (Śmietana and Wajda 1997;
Gula et al. 2002), but if it was accurate, this would
represent a 60% population increase within 3 years. Such
rapid population growth is unlikely, given the densities of
prey available to wolves in Poland.
The telemetry-b ased wolf surve y conducted in the
Białowieżaforestfrom19941999 indicated a slow
increase in wolf numbers, from 12 wolves in 1994 to 17
wolves living in three to four packs in 1999 (Okarma et al.
1998a). Wolf protection began in Białowieża in 1989, much
earlier than the rest of the countr y. This likely contributed
to growth in wolf numbers. Three of four wolf pack
territories in the Białowieża Forest extend into Belorus
where wolves were heavily hunted. Harvest rate in the
Belorussian portion of the Białoweża Forest was very high,
estimated at 80% (Jędrzejewska et al. 1996). Thus, it is
likely that the hunting ban on the Polish side lowered total
mortality to a level that allowed packs in the Polish part of
BP forest to maintai n population size or even expand in
numbers. Nevertheless, poaching on the Polish side of the
forest was substantial, with 6 of 12 radio-monitored wolves
during the Bia łowieża wolf survey (19941999) either
snared or shot (Theuerkauf et al. 2003). Recent estimate of
wolf numbers in BF, based on snow tracking, showed that
wolf n umbers remained stable at 17 animals in four packs
(Jędrzejewski et al. 2002).
In 2001, the snow tracking survey in the Podkarpackie
Province, which i ncluded the Bieszczady Mountains,
revealed a wolf density of 4.5 individuals per 100 km
(Gula et al. 2002), similar to that obtained by Śmietana and
Wajda (1997) by snow tracking before wolf protection.
Snow tracking might produce exaggerated figures (Mech
1974). However, both surveys suggest that a dense wolf
population inhabits the area, and there is little potential for
further growth in numbers. This view was supported by
data collected during ongoing wolf surveys since 2000
(Pirga and Gula 2005; Gula 2008; Theuerkauf et al. 2007).
The four packs monitored were each composed of two to
seven individuals in winter and occupied relatively small
territories (88229 km
; Gula 2008). The wolf range of the
Podkarpackie Province also did no t change a fter the
implementation of wolf protection and was limited by
habitat availability. Wolves occupied all potentially suitable
habitat (5,500 km
of 18,000 km
), and potential for
expansion was low as the rest of the province area is in
either agriculture or is heavily urbanized.
An interesting insight into the wolf population status
throughout the entire country is given by the statewide
survey conducted by the Forestry Administration and
Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences
(Jędrzejewski et al. 2002; data of Mammal Research
Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences available on (http://
Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170 167 The survey confirmed the pres-
ence of wolves in the majority of their former range in
eastern Poland, but in 2001 wolves were absent from 16
forests districts where the species was recorded in the 1980s
or 1990s. Wolf distribution has been reduced west of the
Vistula River. In the 1990s, wolves were recorded in 21
forest districts in this region, but the last survey could
confirm wolf presence in only seven forest districts. Wolf
presence west of Vistula River is restricted to a few (three
to four) isolated, small family groups (Fig. 1). This shrinkage
of wolf range is counter to the predicted population growth
in the a bsence of hunting. There are three potential
explanations of this phenomenon: (1) a decrease of the wolf
prey base (discussed above), (2) extensive poaching, and (3)
increased fragmen tation and isolation of wolf habitat,
preventing wolf migration and consequent range expansion.
Poaching Verified cases of wolves being poached are rare
and limited to areas with active research studies. Most (four
of six) radio-collared wolves poached between 19941999
in Bialowieza were killed in snares that were apparently set
to catch wild boars. One animal was killed with fire arms
using military-type ammunition, most likely by a border
guard. Five wolves were verified as being killed illegally in
the Bieszczady Mountains, including one of three radio-
collared animals (R. Gula B. Pirga, unpublished data). As
there is no organized enforcement service, it is difficult to
estimate the total number of poached animals. However,
there are rumors that hunters commonly kill wolves
whenever they have a chance. Okarma (2002) reported that
poaching was common among hu nters and believed illegal
killing was responsible for the apparent decrease in wolf
populations in the Polish Carpathians during winter 2001
2002. Although these assertions cannot be substantiated,
indirect evidence of illegal wolf killing includes the practice
of baiting for extended periods near many permanent high
seats maintained by game managers. The only predators
legally hunted in the Polish Carpathians are foxes and
badgers, but large quantities of bait (i.e., tons of offal) laid
out near high seats suggest these are not the only target
species (R. Gula, B. Pirga, unpublished data) .
Hunters, foresters, and even Forestry Administration
officials in charge of wildlife management often openly
express negative opinions about wolves and their protection.
They believe the wolf population is overabundant and
consider wolves to be pests that kill ungulates and contribute
to their poor physical condition (Krzakiewicz 2002).
Migration barriers The present condition of Polands
natural environment is primarily a result of the inefficiency
of the communist-based economy which prevented exten-
sive urbanization and associated development of infrastruc-
ture, including roads and intensive traffic. At the same time,
traditional agriculture and land use patterns were preserved
(Webster et al. 2001). As a result, functional corridors for
wildlife were maintained, interconnecting major forest
complexes in spite of a high human populatio n density
(120 peop le/km
on aver age). Consequently, the wolf
population expanded into northwestern Poland in the late
1970s and early 1980s (Wolsan et al. 1992). Polands
transition to a market economy in 1989 resulted in a
dramatic growth in number of cars (76% growth from 1990
to 1999, Polish Statistical Data Book). Subsequently, a
rapid increase in traffic volume may have already increased
isolation of wolf habitat patches and reduced the amount of
wolf range in western Poland. It is likely that the nations
wolf habitat will continue to deteriorate in the future,
paralleling further economic growth.
Wolf depredation on livestock The potential for increased
wolf depredation on livestock was a major concern of
parties that opposed legal wolf protection in Poland. Just
after legal protection was implemented, a dramatic increase
in depredation was reported that was attributed to growth in
wolf numbers and wolves lack of fear toward humans
resulting from the hunting ban.
Before wolf protection, local hunting clubs, or forestry
units responsible for game management paid compensation
for wolf damages to livestock, but there was no standard-
ized procedure of compensation or centralized data base.
Thus, the true level of depredation before 1998 is unknown.
Okarma (1993) described the depredation level in1993 as
negligible, wi th no economic importance, but did not
provide supporting documentation. Bobek et al. (1995b)
reported that wolves killed substantial numbers of sheep
during 19881992 in the Polish Carpathians, with 391517
animals lost each year. The level of depredation described
by Bobe k et al. (1995b) is much higher than levels
observed since the ban on wolf hunting, but might be an
overesti mate due to biases in data collectio n methods
(direct interviews with sheep breeders).
Conversely, the number of livestock killed by wolves is
also a ffected by the number of livestock exposed to
depredation. The number of sheep turned out in the
Carpathians decreased substantially after the economical
transition in 1989. The number of sheep in the entire
country declined by tenfold from 4.2 million in 1990 to 0.7
million in 1991 and 0.38 million in 1997 (Polish Petit
Statistical Data Book 1999). Game managers in the
Bieszczady Mountains claimed wolves also attacked sheep
before legal wolf protection, and that time, the number of
sheep being grazed was much higher then it is now.
In 1998, just after the hunting ban was implemented,
there were 78 wolf attacks on livestock, with 208 sheep
killed in Podkarpackie Province, which includes the
Bieszczady Mountains (Gula 2008). Depredation dropped
168 Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170
to 38 attacks with 75 sheep killed in 1999. Depredation has
subsequently steadily increased since 1999, reaching 127
attacks in 2004 with 202 sheep killed (Gula 2008).
The increase in depredation was also observed in
northern Poland, but the situation was slightly different.
According to Okarma and Jędrzejewski (1996), there were
no wolf attacks on livestock in the Białowieża Forest
between 1984 and 1994. However, in 1998, there were
about 80 cases registered in the Podlaskie Provin ce and 19
attacks in the direct vicinity of the Bialowieza Forest (data
on files of Podlaskie Conservantion Office in Białystok).
There were very few sheep in this region, and most
livestock killed by wolves were cattle. Interviews with
farmers confirmed that wolf depredation was a new
phenomenon in this area since World War II. The sudden
appearance of wolf depredation in this area might be related
to the increased wolf density in the Białowieża Forest and
in the entire region.
Future management recommendations
The nee d for the management plan
I believe development of a wolf management plan is
essential for future well-being of wolves in Poland. Such
a plan must be pragmatic and should address the concerns
of key interest groups, especially hunters and sheepherders.
The plan will need government support to be implemented,
and an infrastructure of legal regulations is needed to
ensure adequate enforcement of protection and compensa-
tion programs. Because wolf populations in northeastern
and southeastern Poland are isolated (separated by 200
500 km of inhospitable terrain) local management plans
should be crafted for each region. Regional plans can be
flexible, allowing for management across transboundary
eco-regions (i.e., Carpath ian Mountains and Baltic States)
instead of adhering to management by national political
boundaries. Areas designated as potential wolf expansion
zones (either by natural migrations or by reint roduction)
should be defined based on habitat potential and areas of
minimal conflict, and local action plans should be devel-
oped to address local circumstances in these areas.
Strict protection vs game species
I feel wolf population regulation should not be restricted to
either complete protection or control under exist ing game
law. Regulations should allow wolf control, but harvest
level and distribution should not be assessed arbitrarily by
the ME (as it is at present). Instead, wolf management
regulations should be based on existing knowledge of: (1)
wolf population status (2) status of wolves natural prey
species, and (3) the incidence and distribution of wolf
depredation on livestock. I recommend groups of experts in
regions, and the state should have authority for coordina-
tion of monitoring programs and determining potential wolf
harvest regulations with approval by the ME. The ME
should not have sole authority for wolf management.
Wolf depredation on livestock and compensation
A certain level of wolf depredation on livestock is unavoid-
able. Actions to reduce the likelihood of wolf depredation
should be recommended in the wolf action plan. Essentials of
a preventive program are described in Gula (2008). State
compensation for wolf depredation should be continued.
However, operation of the program must be improved in
some provinces. I consider the compensation procedure in
the Podkarpackie Province to be well organized and
recommend this model for use nationwide.
Legal wolf protection was implemented in Poland in 1998
to stop hunting because the wolf was considered a symbolic
animal without specific management goals. Regulations
were not accompanied by a management plan, and the
hunting ban was not strongly e nforced. Lack of law
enforcement, increased depredation of live stock, and a
widely held generally negative attitude towards wolves by
hunters and wildlife managers contributed to frequent
poaching of wolves. Therefore, the e stablished legal
protection h as not been effective at increasing wolf
numbers or expanding their range. The lasting effect of
this regulation is intense polarization of wolf advocates and
the anti-wolf lobby. Both groups have strong opinions
about the wolf and how it should be managed. This
radicalism has intimidated the decision makers competence
in wolf management and prevents passage of relevant
legislation to improve the situation. I believe elaboration of
a pragmatic wolf management plan addressing both wolf
population needs and concerns of key interest groups is the
first step to assure the future well-being of wolves in
Acknowledgment This study is performed within the scope of the
Bieszczady Wolf Project and was funded by the Polish National
Committee for Scientific Research (KBN 6P04F 006) and Budget of
the Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences. I
thank the Regional Directorate of State Forest Administration in
Krosno and the Provincial Conservation Office in Rzeszow for their
cooperation during the study. C. McLaughlin, K. Perzanowski, P.
Krausman, and three anonymous reviewers provided suggestions for
improving earlier versions of the manuscript.
Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170 169
Anonymus (2002) Strategy of wolf protection and management in
Poland. Warszawa, Poland (in Polish)
Bobek B, Gugała-Miska A, Harna G, Kasperczyk B, Merta D,
Wierzbowska I (2001) Overprotection of wolves in Poland: costs
and potential consequences for the species. In: Field R, Warren
RJ, Okarma H, Sievert PR (eds) Proceedings of 2nd International
Wildlife Management Congress. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda,
Maryland, USA, pp 177180
Bobek B Merta D, Płodzień K, Morow K (1994) The future of wolf
management in Poland. Łowiec Polski 4:1617 (in Polish)
Bobek, B, Merta, D Płodzień K, Morow K (1995a) Politics, scientists
and wolves. Łowiec Polski 6:89 (in Polish)
Bobek B, Perzanowski K, Kwiatkowski Z, Leśniak A, Seremet B
(1995b) Economic aspects of brown bear and wolf predation in
southeastern Poland. In: Bisonete JA, Krausman PR (eds)
Proceedings of 1st International Wildlife Management Congress.
The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, pp 373375
Bobek B, Perzanowski K, Zieli ński J (1986) Red deer population
census in mountains: testing of an alternative method. Acta
Theriologica 31:423431
Głowaciński Z (1994) Wolfdo not initiate false apprehension.
Łowiec Polski 12:1819 (in Polish)
Gula R (2004) Influence of snow cover on wolf predation patterns in
Bieszczady Mountains, Poland. Wildlife Biol 10:1723
Gula R (2008) Wolf depredation on domestic animals in the Polish
Carpathian Mountains. J Wildl Manage 72(1)
Gula R, Krzakiewicz H, Niemczyk J, Łukaciejewski G, Paszkiewicz R,
Szkutnik M, Kalinowski W, Waœkiewicz A (2002) Wolf and lynx
census in Regional Directorate of State Forest of Krosno,
Bieszczadzki National Park, and Magurski National Park. Roczniki
Bieszczadzkie 10:373389 (in Polish with English summary)
Jędrzejewska B, Jędrzejewski W, Bunevich AN, Milkowski L,
Okarma H (1996) Population dynamics of wolves Canis lupus
in Białowieża primeval forest (Poland and Belarus) in relation to
hunting by humans, 18471993. Mamm Rev 26:103126
Jędrzejewska B, Jędrzejewski W, Bunevich AN, Miłkowski L, Krasinski
ZA (1997) Factors shaping population densities and increase rates
of ungulates in Bialowieza primeval forest (Poland and Belarus) in
the 19th and 20th centuries. Acta Theriologica 42:399451
Jędrzejewski W, J
ędrzejewska B, Okarma H, Schmidt K, Zub K,
Musiani M (2000) Prey selection and predation by wolves in
Bialowieza primeval forest, Poland. J Mammal 81:197212
Jędrzejewski W, Nowak S, Schmidt K, Jędrzejewska B (2002) The
wolf and the lynx in Polandresults of a census conducted in
2001. Kosmos 257:491499 (in Polish with English summary)
Krzakiewicz H (2002) Game management in Forest Superintendence of
Krosno, Poland. In: Perzanowski K, Gula R (eds) Proceedings of
an workshop: initiation of the transboundary network for monitor-
ing the population status of ungulates along PolishSlovak
Ukrainian Carpathians. The Carpathian Branch of International
Centre of Ecology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Ustrzyki Dolne,
Poland, pp 2148 (in Polish with English summary)
Mech LD (1974) Current techniques in the study of elusive wilderness
carnivores. In: Kjerner I, Bjurholm P (eds) Proceedings of XIth
International Congress of Game Biologists. Swedish National
Environment Protection Board, Stockholm, pp 315322
Okarma H (1993) Status and management of the wolf in Poland. Biol
Conserv 66:153158
Okarma H (1994) The need for protection of wolves in Poland.
Łowiec Polski 12:1213 (in Polish)
Okarma H (2002) Current status of knowledge on wolf in Poland.
Proceeding of the workshop on protection of wolf in Poland, 26
April 2002, Kraków, Poland, pp 12 (in Polish)
Okarma H, Jędrzejewski W (1996) Ecology of the wolf in Białowieża
Primeval Forestproblems in conservation. Chrońmy Przyrodę
Ojczystą 52:1630 (in Polish with English summary)
Okarma H, Jędrzejewski W (1997) Livetrapping wolves with nets.
Wildl Soc Bull 25:7882
Okarma H, Jędrzejewski W, Schmidt K, Śnieżko S, Bunevich AN,
Jędrzejewska B (1998a) Home ranges of wolves in Białowieża
Primeval Forest, Poland, compared with other Eurasian popula-
tions. J Mammal 79:842852
Okarma H, Jędrzejewski W, Jędrzejewska B, Nowak S, Śmietana W
(1998b) Strategy of wolf protection and management in Poland.
Instytut Ochrony Przyrody PAN, Kraków (in Polish)
Perzanowski K, Gula R (2002) Proceedings of the workshop:
initiation of the transboundary network for monitoring the
population status of ungulates along Polish
Carpathians. The Carpathian Branch of International Centre of
Ecology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland
(in Polish with English summary)
Perzanowski K, Krzakiewicz H (2000) Red deer population in the
Bieszczady Mountains. In: Głowaciński Z (e d) Monografia
Fauny Bieszczadzkiej, vol. 7. Ośrodek Naukowo-Dydaktyczny
Bieszczadzkiego Parku Narodowego, Ustrzyki Dolne, pp 157
178 (in Polish with English summary)
Pirga B, Gula R (2005) Cohesion of wolf habitat in anthropogenic
areas of Bieszczady Mountains. In: Brzuski P, Okarma H (eds)
Proceedings of 9th Polish Theriological Conference, Akademia
Rolnicza, Kraków, Poland, pp 7277 (in Polish with English
Polish Petit Statistical Data Book (1999) Główny Urząd Statystyczny,
Warszawa, (in Polish)
Śmietana W, Klimek A (1993) Diet of wolves in the Bieszczady
Mountains, Poland. Acta Theriologica 38:245251
Śmietana W, Wajda J (1997) Wolves number changes in Bieszczady
National Park, Poland. Acta Theriologica 42:241252
Śmietana W (1994) Protect or not protect wolves? Łowiec Polski
12:1416 (in Polish)
Theuerkauf J, Jędrzejewski W, Schmidt K, Okarma H, Ruczyński I,
Śnieżko S, Gula R (2003) Daily patterns and duration of wolf
activity in the Białowieża Forest, Poland. J Mammal 84:243253
Theuerkauf J, Gula R, Pirga B, Tsunoda H, Eggermann J, Brzezowska
B, Rouys S, Radler S (2007) Human impact on wolf activity in
the Bieszczady Mountains, SE Poland. Annales Zoologici
Fennici 44:225231
Webster R, Holt S, Avis Ch (2001) The status of the Carpathians. Report
of The Carpathian. Ecoregion Initiative, WWF, Viena, Austria
Wolsan M, Bieniek M, Buchalczyk T (1992) The history of
distributional and numerical changes of the wolf Canis lupus in
Poland. In: Bobek B, Perzanowski K, Regelin W (eds) Trans-
actions of 18th IUGB Congress, Global Trends in Wildlife
Management, vol. 2, Świat Press, Kraków-Warszawa, Poland, pp
170 Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54:163170
... In 1975, the status of the wolf was upgraded from pest to game species, which allowed hunting with firearms only (no poisoning or trapping), with a nation-wide 4-month closed season introduced in 1981 (Okarma 1993). The wolf population subsequently recovered to an estimated 700-900 individuals by the mid-1990s, but wolves were still rare in western Poland (Okarma 1993, Gula 2008a, Nowak and Mysłajek 2017. In 1995, the wolf was declared a protected species in most of Poland, and full protection from hunting was extended to the whole country by 1998 (Gula 2008a). ...
... The wolf population subsequently recovered to an estimated 700-900 individuals by the mid-1990s, but wolves were still rare in western Poland (Okarma 1993, Gula 2008a, Nowak and Mysłajek 2017. In 1995, the wolf was declared a protected species in most of Poland, and full protection from hunting was extended to the whole country by 1998 (Gula 2008a). Since 2000, numbers in western Poland began to recover to the point where local people became aware of the presence of wolves in the forests (Gula 2008c, Nowak andMysłajek 2017). ...
... Foresters were included in the study because they represent a key interest group for wolf conservation. Foresters are responsible for managing the majority of wolf habitat in Poland and the only organized service present on an everyday basis in wolf territories across Poland (Gula 2008a). In some regions, foresters are also responsible for game management (including wolf prey), further underlining the relevance of this interest group for wolf conservation efforts. ...
Full-text available
Human dimensions are a critical part of large carnivore conservation. We investigated how the historical presence of wolves (Canis lupus) influences public attitudes toward the carnivore and its management in rural areas of Poland. From March 2016 to March 2017, we used a self-administered questionnaire to assess attitudes of rural residents (n = 292) and foresters (n = 325) in 6 regions where wolves have either been continuously present, or where they have recently recovered after a period of absence. While we found that attitudes toward wolves were generally neutral or positive, differences in attitudes did exist across target groups and regions with long and short histories of wolf presence. Foresters tended to have more negative attitudes toward wolves than did rural residents, and their attitudes remained stable across regions. In contrast, rural residents from the regions with an uninterrupted history of wolf presence, which also suffer greater rates of livestock depredation, tended to have less positive attitudes than did residents from regions where wolves have recovered more recently. Knowledge of wolves and wildlife value orientations were also positive predictors of attitudes. Negative attitudes among local residents and lower support for wolf conservation in response to wolf attacks on livestock could be a major obstacle for the continued recovery of wolves in Europe. Our results reinforce the need for proactive approaches, involving both information campaigns and actions to mitigate wolf predation on livestock, to maintain local support for wolf conservation.
... W latach 1991-1995, gdy wilk był gatunkiem łownym, legalne odstrzały były najważniejszym czynnikiem śmiertelności w bieszczadzkiej populacji wilka (86% zarejestrowanych martwych osobników), kolejne 9% osobników ginęło z przyczyn naturalnych (konflikty pomiędzy wilkami, niedożywienie i choroby), a za śmierć 5% odpowiedzialni byli kłusownicy, zarówno posługujący się bronią palną, jak i zakładający wnyki (Śmietana, Wajda 1997). Po objęciu wilka ochroną, istotnym czynnikiem śmiertelności tego gatunku w Bieszczadach stały się nielegalne odstrzały (Gula 2008a). Na tym obszarze wilki giną także w kolizjach z pojazdami oraz z przyczyn naturalnych -z powodu chorób i walk między osobnikami. ...
... Powiększenie Bieszczadzkiego Parku Narodowego miałoby również wpływ na jej ograniczenie. W Bieszczadach problem ten dotyczy przede wszystkim wilka (Śmietana, Wajda 1997;Gula 2008a). Dotychczasowe dane z Polski wskazują, że nielegalnych odstrzałów przedstawicieli tego gatunku dokonują głównie myśliwi. ...
... Furthermore, many hunting districts (e.g. in Krosno province) were managed by forestry units that benefitted from organising wolf hunts for Polish and international hunters. On the other hand, to limit damages in forest plantations, foresters were keen on reducing the densities of wild ungulates kept at high levels for hunting purposes before 1989 [75]. Environmental activists tried to use these arguments to win foresters' support: 'We were arguing that the wolf is needed in the forest, that it is an ally of forest management'. ...
... The listing of the wolf as a protected species under the Nature Conservation Act changed the composition of groups involved in wolf management. The administration of wolf conservation was transferred to provincial conservation offices at a regional level and to the chief nature conservator at the Ministry of Environment at the national one [75]. In 1998, the Ministry of Environment commissioned the preparation of a strategy of wolf management. ...
Full-text available
Poland was one of the first countries of Central and Eastern Europe with stable wolf populations to effectively introduce year-round protection of the species. This paper traces the process of policy change using institutional theory as an organizational perspective. Based on the analysis of data from desk research and semi-structured interviews, we propose a model of institutional change and argue that in the 1990s, environmental activists and wildlife biologists successfully used a political window of opportunity connected with socio-economic transformation after 1989 and managed to induce the government to move the species from the domain of hunting to the domain of nature conservation. The new policy, informed by an ecological paradigm, diverged from the historical path dominated by hunters and the vision of the wolf as a pest and a hunting target. The improved protection led to the numerical growth of Poland's wolves and ultimately to their westward expansion.
... Wolves are legally protected in Poland; therefore, there has been no legal wolf hunting in the area since 1995. However, wolf poaching is regularly reported in the whole country (Gula 2008;Gula et al. 2009;Nowak and Mysłajek 2016). ...
... It seems that although wolves in our study area have not been legally hunted for over 20 years, they still might perceive forest roads as sites of elevated risk. Since there is no wildlife mortality caused by collisions with vehicles on forest roads in our study area, we believe that illegal wolf shooting, which is regularly reported in Poland (Gula 2008;Gula et al. 2009;Nowak and Mysłajek 2016), contributes to maintaining this behaviour. ...
Full-text available
We investigated by snow tracking and GPS telemetry how wolves Canis lupus used a dense (4 km/km2) network of forest roads for travel and scent marking. Forty-six percent of wolf trails but only 4.6% of telemetry locations were on forest roads. Wolves used forest roads to travel fast and far across their home ranges but spent relatively little time on roads, especially on those with high traffic levels and during the time of highest human activity. The probability of scent marking was higher on roads than off-road and increased with traffic intensity on roads and close to junctions. Our findings suggest that wolves take advantage of the forest road infrastructure, while minimising human encounters by spatio-temporal avoidance of all roads, even those with negligible traffic. The ongoing expansion and improvements of the forest road network might lead to elevated costs for wolves associated with avoidance of humans and roads.
... The slowest increase in the number of attacks was recorded in the Carpathians, which was apparent especially in the eastern part of the region, where long-term data (1999)(2000)(2001)(2002)(2003)(2004)(2005)(2006)(2007)(2008)(2009)(2010)(2011)(2012)(2013)(2014)(2015)(2016)(2017)(2018) indicated a stabilization of depredation levels already around 2008. This might be due to the wolf numbers leveling off in the region, since the available wolf habitats reached relatively high wolf densities (Gula, 2008a;Nowak et al., 2008), approaching saturation levels (Cubaynes et al., 2014;O'Neil et al., 2017). Another possible explanation for the relative stabilization of livestock depredation rates is the introduction of preventive measures, which are a requisite for compensation and systematically offered by Regional Directorates of Environmental Protection and some NGOs as a support for the farmers (Śmietana, 2012). ...
As the wolf Canis lupus populations continue to recover across Europe, livestock depredation becomes increasingly challenging for their effective conservation. We aim to (1) analyze the spatiotemporal variation in wolf attacks on livestock in relation to the landscape structure, livestock species, and the phase of wolf expansion in Poland and (2) discuss the implications for conservation and management in an expanding, protected wolf population. From 2008 to 2018, farmers reported 5499 attacks on livestock with 13,164 killed individuals, and the number of attacks increased 2.7-fold at the country scale. Sheep were among the most frequently killed livestock, and surplus killing (>2 killed individuals) was relatively common in captive deer and sheep depredation. The attacks were patchily distributed; 59% of all kills occurred in municipalities constituting 1% of the country surface. The probability and number of attacks were positively influenced by forest and pasture cover, and by the occurrence of depredation in previous years. Spatial variation and long-term dynamics in livestock depredation by wolves can be attributed to different husbandry practices and phases of wolf recovery in three regions of the country. Our results indicate that accelerating increase in depredation rates during the initial phases of wolf recovery is likely to be followed by stabilization or decrease in attacks. A detailed spatiotemporal analysis of wolf–livestock conflict can help in management decisions in areas with ongoing wolf population recovery.
... According (Riansari et al., 2012), "Compensation is all forms of payment or gifts for employees and comes from their work. (Gula, 2008) "compensation is the total amount of compensation received by employees instead of services they have provided." (Crane et al., 2016) states that: "Compensation is what a worker receives in return for work given. ...
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of organizational culture and compensation on job satisfaction and its implications on the intention to move the nurse at the Regional General Hospital dr. Soekardjo Tasikmalaya. The results of this study can be useful practically and theoretically, i.e. as material development management of human resources, especially nurses in order to improve the quality and productivity of hospital services as well as lowering the intention of migration of nurses. The research method uses a quantitative approach, with the nature of this research was descriptive and verification. How to capture data through interviews and questionnaire with the techniques of observation and field Study, with the sampling technique of sampling is simple. The collection of Data in the field is done in 2019. Statistical analysis techniques to test hypotheses using Path Analysis. Based on the results of the analysis, it can be seen that the culture of the organization, compensation, job satisfaction and intentions to move in general is pretty good. There is the influence of organizational culture and compensation as well as job satisfaction simultaneously on work satisfaction, as well as have a negative effect on the intention to move from the nurses in the Regional General Hospital dr. Soekardjo Tasikmalaya.
... At this time, the estimated population of wolves in Poland was <100 individuals, and their range was mainly restricted to north-eastern and south-eastern parts of the country (Okarma 1993). In 1995, wolves became protected in most regions of Poland, and in 1998, the strict protection was extended to the entire country (Gula 2008). ...
Full-text available
The wolf Canis lupus population occupying the lowlands of central Europe is divided into two management units: the Baltic population east of the Vistula river and the Central European population to the west. We re-evaluated arguments for this division in the context of the ongoing wolf recovery and its usefulness for wolf management in Poland. To do so, we 1) compared the recovery stage on each side of the Vistula, 2) investigated the history of wolf occurrence in western Poland after the eradication campaign of 1955–1975, 3) evaluated dispersal corridors, dispersal distances and genetic datafor evidence of a possible isolation of the two alleged populations and 4) compared habitat characteristics in Poland on each side of the Vistula. The total area of forest occupied by wolves was 56 600 km2 in 2015 and grew by 5340 km2 until June 2017. Wolves in eastern Poland occurred in more areas than predicted by a habitat model, whereas wolves in the west have not yet recolonized all suitable habitats. Wolves have never been extinct west of the Vistula after the eradication campaign, but their recovery started only in the 1980s. Areas currently occupied by wolves on both sides of the Vistula are interconnected by dispersal corridors less than 100 km long, and population genetic studies show that wolves inhabiting the Polish lowlands constitute one genetic cluster. The wolf habitats west of the Vistula have a higher proportion of forests are less fragmented. We conclude that wolves inhabiting the lowlands on both sides of the Vistula river belong to the same population, have similar conservation status, and should be treated as the same management unit.
Escape tourism seems to be difficult to define. It is related to many different kinds of tourism, including the so-called Robinson tourism. Given that escape tourists’ motives, ways of travelling and activities vary widely, the article deals with general conditions which may trigger the decision to undertake escape tourism. It also examines geographical spaces that are potential destinations for escapees thanks to their remote location or specific features. The article applies theoretical considerations to the consideration of Poland’s tourist space as a source of possible ‘escape destinations’, finding that geographical spaces traditionally considered suitable for escape tourism – borderlands, peripheries or geographical extremes – have decreased in importance as the phenomenon migrates towards less obvious places and forms of psychological refuge.
Full-text available
Livestock depredation by wolves (Canis lupus L.) in Germany 2000 – 2012 – Analysis of official data and questioning of affected livestock owners The return of the wolf to in Saxony, Germany in 2000, after nearly 150 years of absence, is welcomed by the majority of society. Others, like the farmers who are directly affected by the presence of the wolf, are faced with new problems and feel that their economic existence is threatened by animal losses caused by wolves. In this paper, livestock losses from wolves were studied in the period since their return from 2000 to 30.04.2012. 247 records of livestock depredation by wolves in eight German states were evaluated, particularly with regards to lack of or insufficient preventive measures. In 55.1% of the incidents problems with husbandry methods of livestock were detected, where simple adjustments in protection or husbandry practices could have prevented a wolf attack. Furthermore, the annual per capita animal losses (JPKN) by wolves were calculated and their trend over the years analyzed. It was assumed that a linear relationship exists between the increase in wolf population and animal losses. This could only be partly confirmed, since the number of animal losses and wolves attacks varied greatly over time while a linear increase of the wolf population could be recorded. Reasons for the fluctuation of livestock losses are seen in the lack or delay of adjustments in livestock protection measures especially in by wolves newly recolonized areas. With the introduction of wolf management and increased media coverage, awareness among livestock owners for the need of protective measures was raised and subsequently a decrease in wolf attacks and livestock losses was recorded. This process was accompanied by the implementation of compensation schemes for losses and financial support for livestock prevention measures. By means of a questionnaire livestock owners affected by animal losses were asked about their assessment of the wolf management, their adjustments in protection and animal husbandry methods, their information needs and use of media and their attitude towards wolves. 52% of 75 contacted livestock owners participated in the survey: 10 sheepherders and farmers and 29 hobby livestock owners. It was found that 68.8% of hobby pet owners and 87.5% of sheepherders and farmers introduced protection measures only after some of their livestock got killed in an attack by wolves. A possible reason for this is, at least concerning hobby pet owners, that for this group, the financial support for preventive measure against wolves' attacks are denied to them in most German states. This again could be a reason why 64.8% of surveyed livestock owners don't accept wolves in their neighborhood and 91.1% believe that the society, if they want wolves to roam freely in Germany, should pay for the emerging costs.
Full-text available
Globally, large carnivore livestock predations are major causes of conflicts with humans, thus identifying hotspots of carnivore attacks is fundamental to reduce the impact of these, and hence promote coexistence with humans. Species distribution models combining predictor variables with locations of predation events instead of species occurrences (also known as predation risk models) are increasingly used to predict livestock depredation by carnivores, but they are often developed pooling attacks on different livestock species. We identified the main factors related to predation risk on livestock using an extensive dataset of 4604 locations of verified wolf predation events on livestock collected in northern and central Italy during 2008–2015 and assessed the importance of pooling versus splitting predation events by prey species. We found the best predictors of predation events varied by prey species. Specifically, predation risk increased with altitude especially for cattle, with grasslands especially for cattle and sheep and with distance to human settlements, especially for goats and livestock but only slightly for cattle and sheep. However, predation risk decreased as human population density, human settlements and artificial night-time light brightness increased, especially for cattle. Finally, livestock density was positively related to predation risk when herd exceeds 500 heads for km2. Moreover, prey-specific risk models are better tools to predict wolf predation risk on domestic ungulates. We believe that our approach can be applied worldwide on different predator-prey systems and landscapes to promote human-carnivore coexistence. Actually, while pooling predation events could be primarily used by managers and personnel of wildlife agencies/offices in developing general policies, splitting predation events by prey species could be used at farm-level to better identify livestock owners at risk in high-priority areas and which prevention tools and deterrents (e.g. electric fences, guarding dogs, predator-proof enclosures) should be applied, as the most effective measures differ by species.
Full-text available
Patterns of the changes in distribution and numerical status of the wolf Canis lupus L. in Poland during the Quaternary are presented based on both published and unpublished palaeontological, archaeological and historical records. The wolf inhabited the territory of Poland as far back as the Upper Pleistocene. It was widely distributed in Poland during much of the Holocene, particularly from the Neolithic through Middle Ages. Its populations west of the Vistula were exterminated by the end of the 1860s. The species was very rare on the turn of the 19th century when its range was restricted to the east-central, easternmost and southeastern Poland. Early in the 1900s it became more numerous and subsequently reoccupied some portions of its former range. During the 1920s and 1930s it again declined in number and distribution. The species abruptly increased in number during the 1940s, with a peak of above 800 individuals at the mid-century. Early in the 1950s it was dispersed almost throughout Poland. A drastic decrease in the Polish wolf population began about the mid-1950s and continued until about the mid-1960s when it was estimated to be above 100 specimens only. During the late 1960s the wolf population was established between 100 and 200, but already in the early 1970s the species was nearly extinct in Poland (under 60 individuals in 1972). At that time its range was already diminished to the Sobibór Woods, Roztocze, and northeasternmost and southeasternmost Poland. Since about the mid-1970s it has generally been becoming more and more abundant up to about 900 individuals between 1984 and 1986. In consequence, its range has expanded westward once again, including most of the forested areas of Poland. — In: B. Bobek, K. Perzanowski and W.L. Regelin (eds.), Global trends in wildlife management (vol. 2, pp. 375–380). Świat Press, Cracow.
Full-text available
Home-range size, its seasonal variation, and pattern of home-range use of wolves (Canis lupus) were studied in Bialowieza Primeval Forest (BPF) located on the Polish-Belarussian borderland in 1994-1996. Tn the Belarussian part of BPF where wolves were hunted, their winter density was 0.9-1.5 individuals/100 km(2), and mean pack size was 2.7-3.2 wolves. In the Polish part of BPF where wolves were protected, their densities were 2-2.6 individuals/100 km(2), and mean pack size was four to five wolves. In spring-summer, wolves usually moved singly or in pairs (65% of observations), but in autumn-winter, 51% of seen or snowtracked groups were whole packs. In 1994-1996, four wolves belonging to two neighbouring packs of five to seven individuals each were radiotracked in the Polish part of BPF for 4-18 months. Their total home ranges, estimated by the minimum convex polygon method with 100% of locations, covered 173-294 km(2). Core areas of home ranges, comprising 50% of locations, were small: 11-23 km(2), or 5-13% of the total home ranges. Packs hunted both in core areas and peripheral parts of the ranges, but the majority of their diurnal resting sites were located in core areas. Home ranges of wolves were 141-168 km(2) in spring-summer (May-September) and 99-271 km(2) in autumn-winter (October-April). There was nearly no overlap of the two packs' home ranges (0-3% in various seasons). Variation in the size of seasonal hone range was observed for two breeding females. During parturition and early nursing in May-June, they confined their activity to an average of 17 km(2), Literature on sizes of home ranges of Eurasian wolves was reviewed. Home ranges of wolves increased from 80-240 km(2) in southern and central Europe to 415-500 km(2) in northern Scandinavia. Smallest ranges were reported from regions where red deer (Cervus elaphus) were common. The population status of wolves affected size of their ranges, they were large in low-density colonizing populations and small in established populations.
Full-text available
Population dynamics of ungulates (European bison Bison bonasus, elk Alces alces, red deer Cervus elaphus, roe deer Capreolus capreolus, wild boar Sus scrofa, non-native fallow deer Dama dama, and cattle) were analysed in the Bialowieza Primeval Forest (BPF, 1250 km2), one of the largest remaining tracts of ancient mixed and deciduous forests in the lowlands of Europe. Forty percent of BPF belongs to Poland, and 60% to the Belarus Republic. Polish and Belarussian game departments inventories of ungulate numbers (1946-1993) and archival data on censuses and hunting statistics (1798-1940) are presented. The recorded ranges of densities of native wild ungulates were: European bison 0-1.5 inds/km2, elk 0-0.6, red deer 0-5.4, roe deer 0.6-4.8, and wild boar 0.2-3.8 inds/km2. Fallow deer were introduced in 1890 (maximum density reached in 1914 was 1.2 inds/km2) and were eradicated by 1920. Cattle were traditionally pastured in the Forest, and its grazing impact was heaviest in 1880-1914 (maximum recorded density 6.7 inds/km2). In 1798-1993, the community of wild ungulates consisted of three to six species, with total densities varying from < 2 to 14.4 inds/km2 (65 to 1180 kg of crude biomass per 1 km2). Roe deer, wild boar, and red deer were usually the dominants. However, in 1860-1971, cattle constituted from 15% to 80% by numbers and from 37% to 87% by biomass of all ungulates in Bialowieza Forest. Data on population trends within a five-species assemblage of native wild ungulates were subject to multiple regression analysis to determine the roles of predation (by wolves Canis lupus and lynxes Lynx lynx), competition, food, weather variables, and humans in shaping population densities and increase rates of ungulates. Growth of the mean annual temperature had positive effect on densities of all ungulates, probably through improving food supply and feeding conditions. Bison and elk were shaped by intra- and interspecific competition for food. Bison numbers have been significantly limited by humans, due to both uncontrolled exploitation in years of political instability and deliberate culling in years of protection. Red deer and roe deer were primarily shaped by predation from wolves and lynx, respectively. Competition for food influenced red and roe deer when they had erupted after predator extermination. Wild boar was influenced predominantly by food availability, especially the highly variable crops of oak seeds.
Full-text available
From 1991 to 1995, wolf Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758) population dynamics were studied in Bieszczady National Park and the surrounding area (520 km 2). The study area was utilized by 5 packs. Pack sizes averaged 5.6 in early and 3.9 in late winter. Overwinter declines in wolf numbers ranged from 21% to 39% (5 = 29%), which corresponded well to the known number o f wolves killed by hunters or dead of other causes. After every winter decline, wolf numbers recovered through reproduction. Generally, wolf numbers were stable or slightly decreasing during the study. Three neighbouring wolf packs occupied an area o f 340 km2 and the estimated territory size averaged 85 km . The estimated density of wolves averaged 5.1/100 km2 in early winter and 3.3/100 km2 in late winter. Of all known causes o f wolf mortality, 86% were from legal hunting, 5% were from poaching, and 9% were from natural causes. Bieszczady National Park is small in size and its topography influences the spatial distribution of packs. No single pack was fully contained within, or protected by the Park. The number of wolves is overestimated in official reports, because the same packs are likely counted as different groups in neighbouring census units. On hunting grounds adjacent to Bieszczady NP, harvest plans exceed the actual number o f wolves which inhabit the area. The creation of a wolf protection zone around Bieszczady NP and some regulations for wolf management in the rest o f the region are proposed.
Full-text available
in the Bieszczady Mountains, southeastern Poland. A total of 221 wolf scats were collected and analyzed to determine the prey species consumed by wolves in each season. Cervids (red and roe deer) obviously predominated in wolf diet and consisted from 65% o f winter biomass to 96% o f summer biomass consumed. The red deer made up approximately 95% and roe deer only 5% of total cervid biomass con­ sumed. During summer deer fawns made up 28% of total cervid biomass consumed. The wild boar constituted more significant food only during winter -17% of biomass eaten. Among wild boars, piglets were selected and made up 66% of total wild boar biomass consumed during winter. Domestic livestock represented more significant food in winter (16% of biomass eaten) and was consumed as carrion laid out by hunters to bait wolves. Other food categories as hares, voles and insectivores played a negli­ gible part in the w olf diet. Spring, summer and autumn diet were little diversified. Only winter diet differed significantly from other seasons for the presence of wild boar and cervids.
Full-text available
until recently. The radio tracked wolves of three packs moved throughout the day with one major peak around dawn. Wolves avoided the area around main public roads more at night (up to a distance of 1.5 km) than in the day (up to 0.5 km). Wolves avoided a 0.5-km area around secondary public roads and paved forest roads both at night and in the day but did not avoid the surroundings of settlements. As compared with other studies, wolves in this study were the least nocturnal although human density was the highest. We conclude that human activity is unlikely to be the reason for nocturnal activity in wolves.
Full-text available
Relationships of wolves (Canis lupus) and ungulates were studied in the Polish part of Biaowieza Primeval Forest with high densities of prey. The number of wolves ranged from 7 to 19, and the number of packs ranged from 2 to 4. Average densities were 2.3 wolves/ 100 km 2. Red deer (Cervus elaphus) was the main prey of wolves. Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), moose (Alces alces), and European bison (Bison bon- asus) were hunted less than expected based on their abundance. Mean mass of ungulates killed by wolves was 55 kg. Prey were consumed quickly, with 57% of kills completely eaten on the 1st day after killing. Average killing rate by wolves was 0.78 ungulate per wolf pack per day (0.14 prey item per wolf per day). Results of this study combined with the data obtained in the Belarussian part of Biaowieza Primeval Forest in 1946-1985 allowed for analysis of dietary response of wolves to changes in densities of ungulates. Wolves showed a response to abundance of red deer. The amount of other ungulates in their diet depended on the densities of red deer. From 1991 to 1996, wolves annually removed 57-105 red deer, 19-38 wild boar, 19-25 roe deer, and 0-2 moose per 100 km 2. Those amounts were equivalent to 9-13% of spring-summer densities of red deer, 4-8% of wild boar, 3-4% of roe deer, and 0-29% of moose. Additionally, hunters annually harvested 131-140 red deer, 44-114 roe deer, 1-7 moose, and 45-142 wild boar per 100 km 2. Effects of predation and harvest by hunters on ungulate mortality were likely additive and caused declines in ungulate populations during our study.
Full-text available
were active 45.2% 6 0.9 SE of the time and traveled 0.92 6 0.05 km/h. The mean length of activity bouts was 0.76 6 0.05 h, whereas inactivity bouts averaged 1.02 6 0.07 h. Wolves were active throughout the day, but their activity peaked at dawn and dusk, which coincided with periods when they killed most prey. Periods of reproduction and high tem- peratures had less pronounced effects on activity patterns. Human activity and other factors did not significantly affect the wolves' daily activity patterns. The influence of humans may be indirect if hunting of ungulates by humans modifies activity patterns of the wolves' prey. We conclude that the daily activity patterns of wolves in our study area were mainly shaped by their pattern of hunting prey.