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Expedition report: Love / hate relationships: Monitoring the return of the wolf to the German state of Lower Saxony (June/July 2018)

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ABSTRACT This report details wolf (Canis lupus lupus) active monitoring fieldwork by Biosphere Expeditions in collaboration with the State Wolf Bureau of the German state of Lower Saxony and local wolf commissioners. Field work was conducted from 23 June to 6 July 2018 in two one-week long groups comprising twelve citizen scientists. The aim of the expedition was to collect samples for DNA and dietary analyses. This was done by sending small groups into the field to search for scat samples. 24 citizen scientists took part in the expedition, 16 from Germany or its immediate neighbour states (67%) with two of them (8%) from Lower Saxony, three people each from North America and the United Kingdom (12.5%), as well as one person each from Iceland and Australia (4%). Before commencement of field work, which was exclusively conducted on public paths and bridleways, citizen scientists were trained for 1.5 days in sample detection, sampling and data collection techniques. The study area covered various priority areas in Lower Saxony as advised or requested by the State Wolf Bureau, wolf commissioners and the State Forestry Authority. Fifteen 10x10 km grid cells of the EEA grid system and almost 750 km were surveyed on foot or by bicycle. All grid cells were surveyed multiple times so that they were covered 29 times. 250 wolf scat samples were collected, 218 of which were included into the official wolf monitoring programme. 200 samples were frozen for dietary analysis and 25 of those were fresh enough for DNA analysis. Thirty-two tracks, a variety of fur remains and five suspected wolf kill carcasses were also found, but did not pass quality assessment procedures. Eleven (5%) of the 218 scat samples collected were classified as C1 pieces of hard evidence on the SCALP classification system, 69 (32%) as C2 confirmed observation and 137 (63%) as C3 unconfirmed observations. One scat (1%) did not originate from a wolf. One direct sighting was also recorded as a C3 piece of unconfirmed evidence. Dietary analysis is ongoing and should be published in the next report. DNA analysis of the 25 samples showed that 12 scats originated from wolf and one from fox. Three wolves could be identified as female and six as male. Two of the males were new to the monitoring programme. The DNA analysis also yielded the first genetic proof of the existence of the Wietze wolf pack. In addition, two areas of high wolf activity (in the districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg and Celle/Hannover) could be identified. Scat samples collected for dietary analysis by the 2017 expedition have now been analysed. The 45 samples of C1, C2 or C3 classification yielded 30% roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 29% wild boar (Sus scrofa), 18% red deer (Cervus elaphus), 8% fallow deer (Dama dama), 8% deer-like animal and 7% hare-like animal (Lagomorpha). When only biomass is considered, there are no significant changes; similar proportions of prey species were obtained from the 21 C1 samples only . An important and noteworthy aspect is the complete lack of livestock in the samples. This corroborates other studies that have shown that livestock comprises only a small proportion of a wolf’s diet. Just like the 2017 expedition, the quantity and quality of samples collected by the active monitoring effort of the 2018 expedition is remarkable. Official (passive) monitoring efforts in 2016/17 yielded 215 scat samples; in 2017/18 the number was roughly the same. This means that this two-week long citizen science, active expedition with 218 collected samples doubled the number of scats available from the official wolf monitoring efforts. The expedition also produced a quality ratio of 37% of C1 and C2 records, which is roughly the same as the 40% quality ratio of the official (passive) monitoring programme outside the expedition. All of this shows that with 1.5 days of training, contributions of citizen scientists towards wolf research and conservation can be both high quality and high quantity. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG Dieser Bericht beschreibt die Feldarbeit von Biosphere Expeditions im Rahmen eines aktiven Monitorings des großen Beutegreifers Wolf (Canis lupus lupus) in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Wolfsbüro des Landes Niedersachsen und einigen Wolfsberatern. Die Feldarbeit wurde vom 23. Juni bis 6. Juli 2018 in zwei einwöchigen Gruppen von max. 12 Bürgerwissenschaftlern durchgeführt. Ziel war es, aufgeteilt in Kleingruppen, Wolfshinweise, insbesondere Losungen für DNA-Beprobung und Nahrungsanalysen zu finden. Von den 24 internationalen Expeditionsteilnehmern kamen 16 Personen aus Deutschland oder seinen unmittelbaren Nachbarstaaten (67%), inklusive zwei Personen aus Niedersachsen (8%), jeweils drei Personen aus Nordamerika und Großbritannien (12,5%) sowie je eine Person aus Island und Australien (4%). Vor Beginn der Geländebegehungen, ausschließlich auf öffentlich begehbaren Wegen, wurde eine eineinhalbtägige Schulung der Expeditionsteilnehmer durchgeführt. Das Untersuchungsgebiet umfasste verschiedene Schwerpunktgebiete in Niedersachsen, die vom staatlichen Wolfsbüro, Wolfsberatern vor Ort sowie den Niedersächsischen Landesforsten empfohlen bzw. angefragt wurden. Fünfzehn der 10x10 km großen Zellen des EU-Gitternetzes und fast 750 km wurden zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad untersucht. Alle Rasterzellen wurden mehrfach besucht, so dass sie insgesamt 29 Mal abgedeckt wurden. Die Expedition identifizierte insgesamt 250 Wolfslosungen im Gelände, 218 davon wurden in das offizielle Wolfsmonitoring aufgenommen. 200 der Losungsproben wurden zur Nahrungsanalyse tiefgefroren und an das Labor der Tierärztlichen Hochschule Hannover und die Landesjägerschaft Niedersachsen übergeben. 25 dieser Losungsproben waren frisch genug für DNA-Analysen. Die übrigen 32 Losungsproben sowie Spuren und Fellreste konnten aufgrund der strengen Datenqualitätsvorgaben nicht als Wolfshinweise genutzt werden. Elf (5%) der 218 gesammelten Losungsproben wurden als C1 (eindeutiger Nachweis) nach dem SCALP-Verfahren bewertet, 69 (32%) als C2 (bestätigter Hinweis) und 137 (63%) als C3 (unbestätigter Hinweis). Eine (<1%) der Losungen stammte nicht von einem Wolf. Zusätzlich wurde noch eine direkte Sichtung als ein C3 (unbestätigter Hinweis) aufgenommen. Durch die Analyse der 25 DNA-fähigen Losungen konnten insgesamt 12 Proben Wölfen zugeordnet werden, eine stammte von einem Fuchs. Es konnten drei Fähen und sechs Rüden identifiziert werden, zwei davon bisher nicht nachgewiesene, also unbekannte Rüden. Unter anderem konnte die Expedition den ersten genetischen Nachweis für das Rudel Wietze erbringen. Außerdem konnten zwei Gebiete mit hoher Wolfsaktivität identifiziert werden: eines im Landkreis Lüchow-Dannenberg und eines in der Region Celle/Hannover. Die Nahrungsanalyse der Losungsproben, die im Jahr 2017 im Rahmen der ersten Expedition gesammelt wurden, ist nun abgeschlossen. 45 Proben, die mit C1, C2 oder C3a bewertet wurden, enthielten 30% Reh (Capreolus capreolus), 29% Wildschwein (Sus scrofa), 18% Rothirsch (Cervus elaphus), 8% Damhirsch (Dama dama), 8% Rehartige und 7% Hasenartige (Lagomorpha). Betrachtet man die Biomasse, verschieben sich die Anteile geringfügig; werden ausschließlich die 21 als C1 bewerteten Losungsproben betrachtet, gibt es leichte, aber keine signifikanten Verschiebungen. Ein wichtiger Aspekt ist das Fehlen jeglicher Nutztiere in den untersuchten Proben. Dies bestätigt die generell geringen Anteile an Nutztieren in der Wolfsnahrung. Ebenso wie bei der Expedition 2017 ist die Quantität, als auch die Qualität der Losungsproben, die im Rahmen der Expedition 2018 gesammelt wurden, beachtlich. Im Rahmen des offiziellen (passiven) Wolfmonitorings wurden im Jahr 2016/17 insgesamt 215 Losungsproben erfasst, im Jahr 2017/18 etwa dieselbe Anzahl. Das bedeutet, dass die zweiwöchige aktive Bürgerwissenschaftler-Monitoring-Expedition mit 218 protokollierten Losungsproben die Gesamtmenge an Losungsproben und somit wertvoller Daten für das offiziellen Wolfsmonitoring verdoppelt hat. Mit 37% C1- und C2-Bewertungen ist deren Qualität bemerkenswert hoch und vergleichbar mit den 40% des passiven offiziellen Monitorings außerhalb der Expedition. All dies belegt, dass Bürgerwissenschaftler mit eineinhalb Tagen Schulung einen quantitativ und qualitativ hochwertigen Beitrag zum Wolfsmonitoring leisten können.
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EXPEDITION
REPORT
Expedition dates:
23 June
6 July 2018
Report published:
May 2019
Love / hate
Monitoring the return of the
wolf to the German state of
Lower Saxony
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1
EXPEDITION REPORT
Love / hate relationships: Monitoring the return of the
wolf to the German state of Lower Saxony
Expedition dates:
23
June
06
July 2018
Report published:
May
2019
Authors:
Peter Sch
ü
tte
Wolf commissioner
Matthias
Hammer (editor)
Biosphere Expeditions
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
2
ABSTRACT
This report details wolf (
Canis lupus lup
u
s
) active monitoring fieldwork by Biosphere Expeditions in
collaboration with the State Wolf Bureau of the German state of Lower Saxony and local wolf
commissioner
s. Field work was conducted from 23 June to 6 July 2018 in two one
-
week long
groups comprising twelve citizen scientists. The aim of the expedition was to collect samples for
DNA and di
e
tary analyses. This was done by sending small groups into the field to
search for
scat
samples.
24 citizen scientists took part in the expedition, 16 from Germany or its immediate neighbour
states (67%) with two of them (8%) from Lower Saxony, three people each from North America
and the United Kingdom (12.5%), as well as o
ne person each from Iceland and Australia (4%).
Before commencement of field work, which was exclusively conducted on public paths and
bridleways, citizen scientists were trained for 1.5 days in sample
detection
, sampling and data
collection techniques. Th
e study area covered various priority areas in Lower Saxony as advised
or requested by the State Wolf Bureau, wolf commissioners and the State Forestry Authority.
Fifteen 10x10 km grid cells of the EEA grid system and almost 750 km were surveyed on foot or
by bicycle. All grid cells were surveyed multiple times so that they were covered 29 times.
250 wolf scat samples were collected, 218 of which were included into the official wolf monitoring
programme. 200 samples were frozen for dietary analysis and 25
of those were fresh enough for
DNA
analysis
. Thirty
-
two tracks, a variety of fur remains and five
suspected
wolf kill carcasses
were also found, but did not pass quality assessment procedures.
Eleven (5%) of the 218 scat samples collected were classified
as C1 pieces of hard evidence on
the SCALP classification system, 69 (32%) as C2 confirmed observation and 137 (63%) as C3
unconfi
rmed observations. One scat (
1%) did not originate from a wolf. One direct sighting was
also recorded as a C3 piece of unco
nfirmed evidence. Dietary analysis is ongoing and should be
published in the next report.
DNA analysis of the 25 samples
showed that
12
scats originated from wolf
and one
from
fox.
Three wolves could be identified as female and six a
s
male. Two of the mal
es were new to the
monitoring programme. The DNA analysis also yielded the first genetic proof of the existence of
the Wietze wolf pack. In addition, two areas of high wolf activity (in the districts of Lüchow
-
Dannenberg and Celle/Hannover) could be identi
fied.
Scat samples collected for dietary analysis by the 2017 expedition have now been analysed. The
45 samples of C1, C2 or C3 classification yielded 30% roe deer
(
Capreolus capreolus
)
,
29% wild
boar (
Sus scrofa
), 18% red deer (
Cervus elaphus
), 8% fallow
deer (
Dama dama
), 8% deer
-
like
animal
and 7% hare
-
like
animal
(Lagomorpha). When only biomass is considered, there are no
significant changes;
similar proportions of prey species were obtained from
the 21 C1 samples
only
. A
n
important and noteworthy asp
ect is the complete lack of livestock in the samples. This
corroborates other studies that have shown that livestock comprises only a small proportion of a
wolf’s diet.
Just like the 2017 expedition, the quantity and quality of samples collected by the a
ctive
monitoring effort of the 2018 expedition is remarkable. Official (passive) monitoring efforts in
2016/17 yielded 215 scat samples; in 2017/18 the number was roughly the same. This means that
this two
-
week long citizen science, active expedition with
218 collected samples doubled the
number of scats available
from
the official wolf monitoring efforts. The expedition also produced a
quality ratio of 37% of C1 and C2 records, which is roughly the same as the 40% quality ratio of
the official (passive) mo
nitoring programme outside the expedition. All
of
this shows that with 1.5
days of training, contributions of citizen scientists towards wolf research and conservation can be
both high quality and high quantity.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
3
ZUSAMMENFASSUNG
Dieser Bericht beschreibt
die Feldarbeit von Biosphere Expeditions im Rahmen eines aktiven
Monitorings
des
großen Beutegreifers Wolf (
Canis lupus lupus
) in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Wolfsbüro
des Landes Niedersachsen und einigen Wolfsberatern. Die Feldarbeit wurde vom 23. J
uni bis
6.
Juli
2018 in zwei
einwöchigen
Gruppen von max. 12
Bürgerwissenschaftlern
durchgeführt. Ziel war es,
aufgeteilt in Kleingruppen, Wolfshinweise
,
insbesondere Losungen für DNA
-
Beprobung und
Nahrungsanalysen zu finden.
Von den 24 internationalen Expeditionst
eilnehmern kamen 16 Personen aus Deutschland oder seinen
unmittelbaren Nachbarstaaten (67%), inklusive zwei Personen aus Niedersachsen (8%),
jeweils drei
Personen aus Norda
merika und Großbritannien (12,5%) sowie je eine Person aus Island und Australien
(4%
). Vor Beginn der Geländebeg
ehungen,
ausschließlich auf öffentlich begehbaren Wegen,
wurde
eine eineinhalbtägige Schulung der Expeditionsteilnehmer durchgeführt.
Das Untersuchungsgebiet
umfasste verschiedene Schwerpunktgebiete in Niedersachsen, die vom s
ta
atlichen Wolfsbüro,
Wolfsberatern vor Ort
sowie den Niedersächsischen Landesforsten
empfohlen
bzw. angefragt
wurden.
Fünfzehn der 10x10 km großen Zellen des EU
-
Gitternetzes und fast 750 km wurden zu Fuß oder mit
dem Fahrrad untersucht. Alle Rasterzellen wu
rden mehrfach besucht, so dass sie insgesamt 29 Mal
abgedeckt wurden.
Die Expedition identifizierte insgesamt 250 Wolfslosungen im Gelände, 218 davon wurden in das
offizielle Wolfsmonitoring aufgenommen.
200 der Losungsproben wurden zur Nahrungsanalyse
tiefgefroren
und
an
das
Labor
der Tier
ärztlichen
Hochschule Hannover und die Landesjägerschaft
Niedersachsen
übergeben.
25
dieser
Losungsproben
waren frisch genug für DNA
-
Analysen. Die
übrigen 32 Losungsproben sowie Spuren und Fellreste
konnten aufgrund der strengen
Datenqualitätsvorgaben nicht als Wolfshinweise genutzt werden.
Elf
(5%) der 218 gesamme
lten Losungsproben wurden als C1 (eindeutiger Nachweis) nach dem
SCALP
-
Verfahren bewertet, 69 (32%) als C2 (bestätigter Hinweis) und 137 (63%) als C3 (un
bestätigter
Hinweis). Eine (<
1
%) der Losungen stammte nicht von einem Wolf. Zus
ätzlich wurde noch ei
ne direkte
Sichtung als ein C3 (
unbestätigter Hinweis
) aufgenommen.
Durch die Analyse der 25 DNA
-
fähigen Losungen konnten insgesamt 12 Proben Wölfen zugeordnet
werden, eine stammte von einem Fuchs. Es konnten drei Fähen und sechs Rüden identifiziert werd
en,
zwei davon bisher nicht nachgewiesene, also unbekannte Rüden.
Unter anderem konnte die
Expedition
den ersten genetischen Nachweis für das Rudel Wietze erbringen.
Außerdem konnten zwei Gebiete mit
hoher Wolfsaktivität identifiziert werden: eines im Land
kreis Lüchow
-
Dannenberg und eines in der
Region Celle/Hannover.
Die Nahrungsanalyse der Losungsproben, die im Jahr 2017 im Rahmen der ersten Expedition
gesammelt wurden, ist nun abgeschlossen. 45 Proben, die mit C1, C2 oder C3a bewertet wurden,
enthielte
n 30% Reh
(
Capreolus capreolus)
,
29% Wildschwein
(Sus scrofa)
, 18% Rothirsch
(Cervus
elaphus)
, 8% Damhirsch
(Dama dama
), 8% Rehartige und 7% Hasenartige
(Lagomorpha).
Betrachtet
man die Biomasse,
verschieb
en sich die Anteile geringfügig; w
erden ausschließl
ich die 21 als C1
bewerteten Losungsproben betrachtet
,
gibt es leichte, aber keine signifikanten Verschiebungen. Ein
wichtiger Aspekt ist das Fehlen jeglicher Nutztiere in den untersuchten Proben. Dies bestätigt die
generell geringen Anteile an
Nutztieren
in der Wolfsnahrung.
Ebenso wie
be
i
der Expedition
2017 ist die Quantität, als auch die Qualität der Losungsproben, die im
Rahmen der Expedition
2018
gesammelt wurden, beachtlich. Im Rahmen des offiziellen
(passiven)
Wolfmonitorings wurden im Jahr 2016/17
insgesamt 215 Losungsproben erfasst, im Jahr 2017/18 etwa
dieselbe Anzahl. Das bedeutet, dass
die
zweiwöchige
aktive
Bürgerwissenschaftler
-
Monitoring
-
Expedition mit 218 protokollierten Losungsproben di
e Gesamtmenge an Losungsproben
und somit
wertvolle
r
Da
ten für das
offiziellen
Wolfsmonitoring
verdoppelt hat. Mit 37% C1
-
und C2
-
Bewertungen
ist deren Qualität bemerkenswert hoch und vergleichbar mit den 40% des passiven offiziellen
Monitorings außerhalb der Expedition. All dies
belegt
, dass Bürgerwissenschaf
tler mit eineinhalb Tagen
Schulung einen quantitativ und qualitativ hochwertigen Beitrag zumWolfsmonitoring leisten können.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
4
Contents
Abstract
2
Zusammenfassung
3
Contents
4
1. Expedition Review
5
1.1. Background
5
1.2. Research area
5
1.3.
Dates
8
1.4. Local conditions & support
8
1.5. Expedition scientist
9
1.6. Expedition leader
9
1.7. Expedition team
10
1.8. Partners
10
1.9
.
Expedition budget
11
1.
10
.
Acknowledgements
12
1.11. Further information & enquiries
12
2. Moni
toring
wolves in Lower Saxony
13
2.1. Introduction
13
2.2. Materials & methods
27
2.3. Results
35
2.4. Discussion and conclusions
44
2.5. Literature cited
52
Appendix I:
Overview of temperature and rainfall values
56
Appendix II:
SCALP criter
ia
57
Appendix
III: Week
-
by
-
week survey results
5
6
Appendix
I
V
: Photo impressions
64
Appendix V
: Expedition diary and results
75
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
5
Please note: Each expedition report is written as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer b
ack to previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previous reports, copied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupted flow of argument and rationale.
1. Expedition Review
M
atthias
Hammer
(editor)
Biosphere Expeditions
1.1. Background
Biosphere Expeditions runs wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the
Earth. Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions, but genuine research
expeditions placing ord
inary people with no research experience alongside scientists who
are at the forefront of conservation work. Our expeditions are open to all and there are no
special skills (biological or otherwise) required to join. Our expedition team members are
people
from all walks of life, of all ages, looking for an adventure with a conscience and a
sense of purpose. More information about Biosphere Expeditions and its research
expeditions can be found at
www.biosp
here
-
expeditions.org
.
This project report deals with an expedition to the state of Lower Saxony in N
orthern
Germany that ran from
23
June to
6
July 2018
with the aim of conducting conservation
research monitoring on wolves.
By the end of the
monitoring
year 2017/18
,
counts
had
confirmed 73 wolf packs in
Germany (BfN 2018
). Wolves first appeared in the German federal state of Lower Saxony
in 2006 a
nd have since then expanded to
21
wolf packs,
two
wo
lf pairs and
one single wolf
(LJN 201
9
)
in 2018
.
With thi
s expansion comes potential for conflict. Negative aspects of
wolf presence often make news headlines and as such facilitate a heightened sense of
fear.
It is true that w
olves can sometimes cause considerable losses to livestock,
particularly sheep
, which
is often the main source
of
conflict
(
DBBW 2019
), and
as a result
hunters often believe wolves will also decimate game populations (
ARD 2018
). The result
is frequent demands
for
culls, which is the approach that eradicated carnivores from
Germany and Weste
rn Europe in the past. The concurrent emergence of new threats to
wildlife and
their
habitats through economic development and population pressure means
that a more sensitive approach is required; one based on a sound, science
-
based
understanding of the pl
ace of carnivores in ecosystems, but also taking into consideration
their impact on local people.
T
here is much to be done in order to achieve these goals.
Field work conducted by Biosphere Expeditions
aims
to make
an important contribution to
this by prov
iding science
-
based monitoring data for
finding
answers and strategies.
1.2. Research area
The expedition took place in Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen), a German federal
state (Bundesland) situated in northwestern Germany, which
among the sixteen G
erman
states
is
the
second
largest by area (47,624 square kilometres)
and fourth
largest by
population (8 mi
llion). The state
has a population density of 170
persons
per square
kilo
metre (Wikipedia 2018).
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
6
Figure 1.2a.
Flag and map of Germany,
bas
e (red dot) and study area (red circle).
An overview of Biosphere Expeditions’ research
sites, assembly points, base camp and office
locations is at
Google Maps
.
Below: Lower Saxony, one of 16 German
states.
The state capital is Hanover (German: Hannover). There are seven other major cities in
the state: Brunswick, Oldenburg, Os
nabrueck, Wolfsburg, G
oe
tingen, Hildesheim and
Salzgitter. Important neighbours are the metropolitan areas of Bremen and Hamburg.
The Lu
e
neburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath, geest and
woodland in the northeastern part of Lower
Saxony. It forms part of the hinterland for the
cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen and is named after the town of Lueneburg. Most
of the area is a nature reserve. The extensive areas of heathland are typical of those that
covered most of the north Germ
an countryside until about 1800, but which have almost
completely disappeared in other areas. The heaths were formed after the Neolithic period
by overgrazing of the once widespread forests on the poor sandy soils of the geest, as this
slightly hilly and s
andy terrain in northern Europe is called. The Lueneburg Heath is
therefore a historic cultural landscape. The remaining areas of heath are kept clear mainly
through grazing, especially by a north German breed of moorland sheep called the
Heidschnucke
. D
ue to its unique landscape, Lu
e
neburg Heath is famous in Germany and
beyond as a recreation area.
Another landscape covered by this expedition was deciduous woodlands containing trees
with broad leaves such as oak, beech and elm. They occur in places with
high rainfall,
warm summers and cooler winters and lose their leaves in winter. As some light can get
through, the vegetation is layered and a shrub layer can also be found beneath the taller
trees, containing species such as hazel, ash and holly. Grass,
bracken and bluebells can
also
be
found in the ground layer. Animals present include various species of deer, wild
boar, red fox, badger, brown hare, golden eagle, osprey, raven, pine marten, stone
marten, racoon dog and otter.
I
n addition there are also
wetlands such as bogs that accumulate peat, a deposit of dead
plant material
-
often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
7
Figure 1.2b.
Typical heath landscape.
Figure 1.2c
.
Typical woodland landscape.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
8
1.3. Dates
The project ran ov
er a period of two
weeks
divided into
two
seven
-
day slots, each
composed of a team of international
citizen
assistants, scientists
, wolf commissioners
and
an expedition leader. Slot dates were:
23
29 June | 30 June
06 July
2018
Team members could joi
n for multiple slots (within the periods specified).
Dates
were
chosen to coincide with the increased activity period during the raising of juvenile wolves.
1.4. Local conditions & support
Expedition base
The expedition team was based on the southern ed
ge of the Lueneburg Heath nature
reserve at
NABU Gut Sunder
, at a guesthouse / research station with all modern
amenities. Team members shared twin room
s with modern showers and toilets. Breakfast
and dinner was provided at base and a lunch pack was supplied for each day spent in the
field.
Figure 1.4a.
Expedition base: The “Seminarhaus” at NABU Gut Sunder.
Weather
Average summer daytime temperatu
res
range
between 10 and 30
º
C with an average of
eight hours sunshine per day and up to ten days with rain per month. In line with this, the
weather during the expedition was very variable from hot days with a lot of sunshine to
cooler, overcast days and
days with
plenty
of rain and thunderstorms (see appendix I for
full weather records).
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
9
Field communications
There was patchy mobile phone coverage around
the
base and very little to no mobile
phone coverage in the study areas. The expedition also used hand
-
held radios for groups
working close together. The expedition base had WiFi internet.
The expedition leader
posted a
blog on Wordpress
, which was mirrored on
the
Biosphere Expeditions’ social
media sites
.
Transport & vehicles
Team members made their own way to
the
assembly point at Bremen airpo
r
t. From there
onwards and back to Bremen all trans
port was provided for the expedition team. The
expedition used a combination of cars from staff and
expedition participants
,
supplemented by hire cars as necessary. Surveys were generally conducted on foot, but
for some of the surveys the expedition team a
lso used bicycles provided by NABU Gut
Sunder.
Medical support and incidences
The expedition leader was a trained first aider and the expedition carried a comprehensive
medical kit. The nearest hospital is located in the nearby town of Celle (30 km from
base)
or the university medical centre in Hanover (70 km from base). In case of immediate need
of hospitalisation, and weather permitting, ambulance and rescue services were available.
All team members were required to carry adequate travel insurance cove
ring emergency
medical evacuation and repatriation.
Safety and emergency procedures were in place
, but
did not have to be invoked as there were no accidents or mishaps
.
1.5. Expedition scientist
Peter Schütte was born in Germany and studied geography an
d geoinformatics at the
Universities of Bremen (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Salzburg (Austria). He has
worked in this field for several international mapping and remote sensing projects, one of
which involved him in wildlife conservation in Namibia,
where he was a member of
Biosphere Expeditions’ team of local scientists. Starting in 2004, Peter led expeditions in
Namibia/Caprivi, Altai, Oman and Slovakia for Biosphere Expeditions. Working on
projects
involving
cheetahs, leopards and lions in Namibia
for years, he gathered experience in the
field of human
-
wildlife conflicts. Back in his native Germany, Peter is now working to gain
acceptance for the return of wolves to the country. He is involved in wolf monitoring and is
working on human
-
wildlife conf
lict solutions, such as livestock protection measures.
1.6. Expedition leader
Malika Fettak is half Algerian, but was born and educated in Germany. She majored in
Marketing & Communications and worked for more than a decade in both the creative
field
, bu
t also in PR & marketing of a publishing company. Her love of nature, travelling
and the outdoors (and taking part in a couple of Biosphere expeditions) showed her that a
change of direction was in order. Joining Biosphere Expeditions in 2008, she runs the
German
-
speaking operations and the German office
,
and leads expeditions all over the
world whenever she can. She has travelled extensively, is multilingual, a qualified off
-
road
driver, diver, outdoor first aider, and a keen sportswoman.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
10
1.7. Expedition t
eam
The expedition team was recruited by Biosphere Expeditions and consisted of a mixture of
ages, nationalities and backgrounds. They were (in alphabetical order and with country of
residence):
23
29 June 2018
:
Susanne Albinger (Austria), Rudolf Dinke
lacker (Germany), Sieglinde
Dittmann (Germany), Sylvia Dittmann (Germany), Edward Durell (Germany), Scott
Duttfield* (UK), Clare Murphy (Iceland), Markus Orth (Germany), Roeland Pater (the
Netherlands), James Sheppard* (UK), Patricia Smith (Belgium), Marku
s Stein (Germany),
Lauren White (USA).
30
June
6 July 2018
:
Jelle Boef (the Netherlands), Sieglinde Dittmann (Germany), Sylvia
Dittmann (Germany), Andrew Down (UK), Anja Giles (Germany), Latika Keegan (USA),
Mark Keegan
(USA), Sita Liu (Australia), Seb
astian Seely (UK), Beate Stahmer
(Germany), Christine Weiss (Germany).
In addition for some or all of the time: Theo Grüntjens, Kenny Kenner (wolf
commissioners),
Charlotte Steinberg, Dorit Mersmann (biologists), Lea Wirk
(
of
Wildlife
Detection Dogs
e.V.
)
.
*
Member of the media.
1.8. Partners
Biosphere Expeditions’ main partner on this expedition was the state’s environmental
authority the NLWKN (Niedersächsischer Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft,
Küsten
-
und
Naturschutz, Nature = Lower Saxony Water Ma
nagement, Coastal Defence and Nature
Conservation Agency
), which is officially responsible for the monitoring of all wildlife in the
state. The authority’s Wolfsbüro (wolf bureau) was established in 2015 with the remit to (a)
gather and consolidate informa
tion about wolves in Lower Saxony, (b) organise the
monitoring of this protected species
in conjunction with the Hunter’s Association of Lower
Saxony (Landesjägerschaft Niedersachsen e.V., LJN)
, (c) support livestock owners
suffering losses caused by wolve
s and (d) inform the public about issues concerning the
wolf.
Wolf
management includes scientists, environmentalists, foresters, hunters, etc., and
has a
t least
one
contact person in
most of the 46 districts,
the so
-
called ‘wolf
commissioners’. Wolf bureau
staff were closely involved in all expedition activities. Other
partners included
the state forestry department
, district and communal authorities,
Kenner’s Landlust
, Wolfcenter Dörverden
and NABU Gut Sunder (Nature and
Conservation Union).
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
11
1.9. Expediti
on budget
Each
citizen scientist
paid a contribution of
1,
8
4
0 per person per
seven
-
day
period
towards expedition costs
. The contribution covered accommodation and meals,
supervision and induction, special research equipment and all transport from and to
the
team assembly point. It did not cover excess luggage charges, travel insurance, personal
expenses such as telephone bills, souvenirs etc., or visa and other travel expenses to and
from the assembly point (e.g. international flights). Details on how thi
s contribution was
spent are given below.
Income
Expedition contributions
36,240
Expenditure
Expedition base
includes all food & services
9,130
Transport
includes hire cars, fuel, taxis in
Germany
1,308
Equipment and hardware
includes research materials & gear etc. purchased internationally
& locally
722
Staff
includes local and Biosphere Expeditions staff salaries and travel expenses
8,987
Administration
includes miscellaneous fees & sundries
1,
191
Team recruitment
Germany
as estimated % of annual PR costs for Biosphere Expeditions
8,676
Income
Expenditure
6,226
Total percentage spent directly on project
83
%
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
12
1.10
. Acknowledgements
We are very grateful to all the expedition citizen scientsts, who not only dedicated their
spare time to helping but also, through their expediti
on contributions, funded the research.
Thank you also to those who brought their own cars and supported the expedition in this
way too. Thank you to all our partners metioned above, especially
those at
the ‘Wolfsbüro’
at NLWKN and to all those professional
s who provided assistance and information.
Special thanks go also
to all of the wolf commissioners (Wolfsberater) and helpers working
on a voluntary basis in support of the expedition. Their efforts and local knowledge were
crucial
t
o the success of our fi
eld
work
.
T
hanks
also
to the state forestry department
(Niedersächsische Landesforsten)
f
or
their
co
-
operation
. Furthermore thanks
to
the
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation (Institute for Terrestrial and
Aquatic Wildlife Research) and
La
ndesjägerschaft Niedersachsen (
LJN
)
, especially
master
s
student Charlotte Steinberg who analysed the scat samples for diet.
Biosphere
Expeditions would also like to thank members of the Friends of Biosphere Expeditions and
donors for their sponsorship. Fin
ally, thank you to the staff of NABU Gut Sunder for being
such excellent hosts and making us feel at home.
1.11
. Further information & enquiries
More background information on Biosphere Expeditions in general and on this expedition
in particular includin
g pictures, diary excerpts and a copy of this report can be found on the
Biosphere Expeditions website
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org
.
Enquires should be addressed to Biosphere Expeditions at the address g
iven on the
website.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
13
Please note: Each expedition report is written as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer back to previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previo
us reports, copied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupted flow of argument and rationale.
2.
Monitoring
w
olves in L
ower Saxony
Peter Sch
ü
tte
Wolf commissioner
Matthias Hammer (editor)
Biosphere Expeditions
2.1. Introduction
The Eurasian wolf
(
Canis lupus lupus
) belongs to the canine family (Canidae), is a native
species to Europe and was eradicated by humans in Western Europe more than 150
years ago. Wolves are habitat generalists and live in packs, which mostly consist of the
two parents and
their offspring of the last two to three years (DBBW 2018). Young wolves
usually
leave the parental territory
,
sometimes
as early as at age
ten
months, but
sometimes staying until
age
22 months
, at which point
they
search
for their own territory
and a mat
ing partner. Body mass can vary from approximately 30 up to 80 kg (DBBW
2018). Wolves are highly territorial and defend their territory from other packs through
howling, scent markings (defecation, urination, scratching), and attacks (Ronnenberg et al.
201
7).
After an absence of
more than
150 years, wolves, by and large from Eastern European
populations, started to colonise Germany again at the turn of the millennium, and reached
Lower Saxony in 2006 from Poland via Eastern Germany. The species was classif
ied by
the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered in 2012
(Kaczensky et al. 2013) and is protected by European law through the Fauna Flora Habitat
(FFH) Directive and German law (Federal Nature Conservation Act), where the wolf
is
listed in Annex II and IV of the FFH Directive. This listing requires that active
management
plans for the wolf should be in place. According to the Directive, the objective is to achieve
and maintain a “favourable conservation status” (FCS) for the wo
lf population. This FCS is
defined in the management plan guideline (Linnell et al. 2008) and stipulates that a
population is in an FCS if all of the following eight conditions are met:
1)
The population is stable or increases
2)
The natural range of the specie
s is neither being reduced
,
nor is
it
likely to be
reduced
in
the foreseeable future
3)
Wolf h
abitats
are likely to
maintain their quality
4)
The size of the “f
avo
urable reference p
opulation
(
FRP) has been reached (based
on
the IUCN Red List criteria)
5)
The popul
ation is as large as
,
o
r greater than
, that
at the time the D
irective came
into effect
6)
The “f
avo
urable reference r
ange
(FRR) is occupied
7)
An exchange of individuals within the population or between populations
is taking
place or is promoted (at least one g
enetically
effective
8)
An efficient and robust monitoring
system
of the species is established
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-
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-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
14
The
FCS
is se
t at
a national level, but takes local
population level
s into account
. W
olves in
Germany together with
those in
western Pol
and form a
self
-
contained
population (
the
Central
European Lowland Population) and t
his population is currently defined as isolated
,
as there is no unrestricted reproductive exchange with other populations.
This fact alone
shows t
hat an FCS has not been re
ached.
All
EU states are obliged to monitor t
he state of conservation of their
country and to report
to the European
Commission
every six years. Due to the federal system in the Federal
Republic of Germany
,
this
monitoring
task is within the jurisdiction
of each individual
federal state
.
In Lower Saxony, official wolf monitoring studies have shown that the wolf has in fact been
breeding (LJN 2016). In addition, Fechter and Storch (2014) have shown that there are
many more areas in Lower Saxony suitable fo
r wolf re
-
colonisation than are currently
being occupied by the species. Furthermore, recent wolf monitoring has shown that the
wolf is so adaptable that it even colonises areas previously thought
unsuitable for wolves
(LJN 2016
). Moreover, young wolves ar
e by their nature always actively looking for new
areas to found packs in
and more wolves are pushing into the state from healthy breeding
packs in the German states to the east of Lower Saxony. As a result, more wolves are
spotted by people, there is incr
eased media coverage, and unprotected livestock can be
predated upon. These elements have resulted in decreasing wolf acceptance amongst
local people (Deutscher Bundestag 2015), especially hunters and livestock owners, who
play a crucial role in wolf survi
val (Deutscher Bundestag
2018). This means that the threat
of real and perceived conflict with humans, livestock and game species is ever increasing,
as is the need to educate and inform local people about the presence of wolves in their
area. If the wolf
is to have a future in Lower Saxony, people must be educated about the
wolf's movements and habits, as well as about the correct application of livestock
protection measures, so that human
-
wolf conflict can be reduced as much as possible or
avoided altoget
her.
BMUB (2015) argues that human
-
wolf conflict resolution should encompass the following
activities
in the state’s wolf management
:
Informing
stakeholders and the general
public,
measures to protect livestock from wolf depredation, interaction with the
hunting
community
,
effective and lawful procedures to deal with problem wolves,
m
onitoring and
research
.
The
Lower Saxony
wolf management
(
MU 2019, NLWKN 2019
)
provides important
contacts and chains of action for different situations and it also includes
guidelines for wolf
monitoring
procedures in accordance with
a nationwide set of standard
criteria
and
protocols
. The experiences of the last two de
cades in Germany suggest that
co
-
existence
of humans and wolves is possible
(
NABU 2014)
, but it requires ef
fective
and transparent
information
campaigns to inform stakeholders and the wider population
. The return of
the
wolf certainly has its challenges,
especially for livestock owners. They need quick chains
of action and recommendations for best practice, e.g
. livestock protection measures and
strategies for p
ublic relation activities (NABU
2015).
Several surveys in Germany and
Austria since 2018
have shown that the
population
is
signi
f
icantly
in favour of the
wolf
returning
.
However,
an
increase in livestock kills
could
result in the loss of public support
,
so
it is crucial to work on solutions for co
-
existence between livestock on open pasture
lands and
free
-
roaming
wolves.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
15
In addition
,
detailed knowledge of
temporal trends in the spread and abundance of wolves
is an important basis for t
aking effective measures, thus
monitoring
of wolf populations
is
essential.
Since the wolf, as a habitat generalist, is able to adapt to many different habitats and
circums
tances, the species has found itself able to survive and propagate effectively in
today's highly cultivated landscape in Germany. The wolf does not need, as is often
suspected, a wilderness in order to survive. It simply needs an adequate food supply and
r
etreat areas for breeding.
Wolf territories
At the end of
the monitoring year
20
17
/
18 there were 73
confirmed w
olf packs in Germany
(DBBW 2018
).
The distribution of territories occupied by the wolf today is largely a function
of expansion from founder p
opulations in southeast Saxony in the early 2000s, through the
states of Brandenburg and Saxony
-
Anhalt northwest to Lower Saxony (Fig. 2.1a).
Prior to the
project commencing
, the numbers of wolves in Lower Saxony
in
the 2016/2017
monitoring year
were
elev
en wolf packs, one wolf pair, two single wolves and eight
unconfirmed territories (LJN 2017). In April 2018
, before the 2018 expedition started,
numbers
had
increased to 14 wolf packs, four wolf pairs, one single wolf and six
un
confirmed territories (LJN 2
018
)
. I
n December 2018
, after the expedition in June/July,
numbers increased to 21 wolf packs, two
wolf pairs and
one single wolf
(
LJN, 2019,
Fig.
2.1b). This demonstrates that the wolf population in the area is increasing.
Study area
The study area was
in the state of Lower Saxony, mainly in areas around the Lueneburg
Heath. Study
sites
were chosen in close collaboration with the state authorities responsible
for wolf monitoring, mainly the wolf bureau
,
which advised where wolf population data
w
ere
neede
d most, for example because there was little recent knowledge about breeding
activity or other aspects of population dynamics
,
or because wolves had entered a new
area.
Lower Saxony borders the North Sea
in the north
, where some areas are depressions
belo
w sea level. In the north
-
east the Elbe river is part of the state border. The southeast
border runs through the Harz Mountains with the highest peak at 971 m. The northeast
and west of the state are part of the North German Plain, while the south is in th
e Lower
Saxon Hills. The Lueneburg Heath is located
in
the northeast of the state
(Fig. 2.1d)
. The
main large rivers are the Elbe, Weser, Aller and Ems.
The state of Lower Saxony was created after World War II
and has
geographic, historic
and cultural ro
ots. The state is divided into 37 districts (Landkreise, Fig. 2.1c). Districts are
a constituent part of the German federal system. The constitution requires a vertical
distribution of public power to politically constituted local authorities, namely munic
ipalities,
districts, states and the federal government. This ensures
a
decentra
lis
ed service of public
duties. The districts have to fulfill communal services such as, for example, handling of
nature conservation issues.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
16
Land use and land cover
More t
han half of Germany’s surface area is used for agriculture, although this proportion
is declining slowly, while settlements and traffic infrastructure steadily rise. Almost 60% of
Lower Saxony is used for agriculture, 22% is occupied by forests, with settl
ements and
traffic infrastructure forming the third biggest type of land use (18%) (Niedersachsen 2018)
(Fig. 2.1d).
In densely populated Lower Saxony
, a variety of infrastructure
such as roads, railways,
settlements or industrial areas
divide up the land
scape (Fig. 2.1d
).
T
he
state’s
799 nature
reserves account f
or only 4.1%
of its surface area
(NLWKN
2017),
so
it is clear that
large,
uninterrupted
habitats for wild animals
do not exist within the heavily populated and
cultivated landscape, forcing wildli
fe to live within a highly
fragmented landscape.
The physical and biological ground cover and the ways in which it is used are very diverse
in Lower Saxony. Although there are some larger areas of forests and agriculture, the
state is very fragmented (Fig
. 2.1e). In all four study sites, there are several settlements, a
great variety of infrastructure, and also intensely farmed agricultural areas.
Wolf monitoring shows that wolf territories in Lower Saxony are predominantly in forest
and heath regions, b
ut there are also some in the middle of cultivated and densely
populated areas (LJN 2018a/b).
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
17
Figure 2.1a.
Wolf territories in
Germany
on
30 A
pril
2018
(
source
).
Rude
l (blue) = wolf
pack
Paar (red) = wolf pair
Einzeltier (yellow) =
single individual
The text reads “73
packs, 31 pairs, 3
territorial individuals
are known, as well as
266 juveniles (11
packs cross
ing
state
boundaries).
Territorial wolves are
present in
the states
of Bavaria,
Brandenbug,
Mecklenburg
-
Vorpommern, Lower
Saxony, Saxony,
Saxony
-
Anhalt,
Thuringia”.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
18
Figure 2.1b.
Wolf t
erritories in
Lower Saxony on 13
December 2018
(
source
).
Wolfsrudel (orange) =
wolf pack
Wolfsrudel (Nachweis
ausstehend) (shaded
orange) = wolf pack
(to be confirmed)
Wolfspaar (red) =
wolf pair
Residenter Einzelwolf
(gree
n
) = resident
individual
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
19
Figure 2.1c.
District
s
and urban
districts of Lower
Saxony (
source
).
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
20
Figure 2.1d.
Land use of Lower
Saxony
(
source
).
Main roads (red)
Railways (black)
Rivers (blue)
Forests (green)
Agricultural areas
(white)
Urban areas (orange)
D
istrict boundaries
(purple)
The Lueneburg Heath
(
Lüneburger Heide) is
marked by a yellow
circle
Climate
Lower Saxony is located in the west wind zone, Central Europe’s temperate zone, in a transition area between the maritime climate of
the weste
rn part and the continental climate of the eastern part of Europe. Hence there are noticeable climatic differences within the
state. The northwest has an Atlantic climate with a low temperature amplitude. Further inland the climate is more continental with
stronger temperature differences between summer and winter, the precipitation is lower and seasonally unevenly distributed. The highest
rainfall is recorded in the Harz mountains. The average annual temperature is around 8°C.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
21
Figure 2.1e.
Land use c
ov
er in
main
study areas,
map adapted
from
CORINE
.
Survey areas and habitats
Field work covered 15 standard 10 x 10 km cells of the
EEA grid system
(European
Environment Agency 2018)
in four different survey areas, situ
ated in the districts of Celle
,
Heidekreis,
Lu
e
chow
-
Dannenberg
, Lueneburg, Northeim,
Rotenburg
and Uelzen
(Fig.
2.1f), and covering a varie
ty of habitats such as forest, swamp, heath, agricultural and
forestry land (Figs. 1.2b & c, 2.1g
-
j).
All study sites were chosen in
consultation with the
State W
olf
B
ureau,
local
wolf commissioners
and forestry departments
.
Survey routes were always on
public paths, forest or hiking trails, never on private ground
or off public pathways. This was done in order to avoid any trespassing, but equally
importantly to increase the chances of finding wolf sign, because wolves predominantly
use public pathways a
nd other human infrastructure for travelling and territorial marking
(Reinhardt et al. 2015a).
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
22
Figure 2.1f.
15
EEA grid cells covered during the
2018
surveys
(indicated as pale shading)
.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
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Figure 2.1g.
Forest
and field edge habitat. P
ho
to courtesy o
f
Daniel McCourt
.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
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Figure 2.1h.
Open woodland habitat.
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-
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-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
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Figure 2.1i.
Conifer forest habitat. Photo courtesy of
Graham Makepeace
-
Warne
.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
26
Figure 2.1j.
Open marshland
habitat. Photo courtesy of
Angela Holz
.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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27
2.2. Materials and methods
2.2.1 Monitoring
In Lower Saxony, wolf monitoring is usually conducted via a passive system. This means
that those responsible for collecting data only become active when th
ey receive messages
about wolf
signs such as
scats,
sightings, kills, etc. from the local populatio
n (LJN
2018c
).
Data are collected and evaluated following nationwide standards for the monitoring of
large carnivores in Germany (Reinhardt et al. 2015
a
) and
are
collated in quarterly reports.
In Lower Saxony,
for better or for worse and as a result of a political decision
, the agency
responsible for collation, analysis and publication is the State Hunter’s Association of
Lower Saxony (LJN =
Landesjägersc
haft Niedersachsen
). The LJN works in
cooperation
with
wolf
commissioner
s
.
Wolf commissioners
are appointed by the state’s Ministry of
Environment
and work on a voluntary basis
.
Their remit is to
support
wolf monitoring
efforts
and
educate the
public abou
t wolves
.
There are about 120 wolf commissioners
distributed across Lower Saxony’s districts. In addition to their role as advisors, where they
would for example advise livestock owners about
livestock
protection, they also record
reports of sightings, liv
estock and game kills and other evidence of wolf occurrence.
According to Reinhardt
et al. (2015
a
)
,
interpretation of
data
collected via passive means
should be done
very carefully as
these
data
are
collected randomly and not
systematically
.
There is t
hus a clear need for
active monitoring efforts to detect more
signs of wolf presence, collected specifically and systematical
ly.
Active wolf monitoring
methods are used in certain areas by
the
LJN,
the
State Wolf Bureau
, the wolf
commissioners
and also
by
Biosphere Expeditions
in the current
and former
stud
ies
.
Bre
itenmoser et al. (2006) define
active monitoring as
data and information collection
specifically for the purpose of monitoring a species or
a population. Scale, resolution
and
timing of field act
ivities,
as well as the
collection
methods
,
are designed with
the
monitoring
objective
in mind
,
as well as species
biology and environmental conditions
. The
aim is to collect data that have
the least possible bias
so that
the result
s
of the monitoring
prog
ramme
can answer the question
asked with
as little
bias
as possible
.
In official
wolf
reports
,
the spatial condition of a population is described
through
the
occurrence and distribution area.
This
refers to the area that is populated by the species.
Monit
oring data is displa
yed in the
EEA grid system
(on 10 x 10 km grid cells) (European
Environment Agency
2018)
(Figs. 2.2.1a & b)
. In
the official wolf monitoring system in
Ger
many, a grid cell is considered occupied if
it produces
at least one o
bservation,
classified as C1 (hard evidence) (Reinhardt et al.
2015b
).
In the absence of a
C1
record
, at
least three C2
records (confirmed observations
) are
required
(see appendix
II
for
details
and definitions
of the
SCALP classification
system
).
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
28
Figure 2.2.1a.
Distribution of wolves in Germany in 201
7/2018
on
the EEA grid system (
source
).
Green cell = wolf presence confirmed in accordance with monitoring standards.
Green cell with
black
dot = wolf presence and reproduction confirmed.
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered inAustralia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
29
Figure 2.2.1b.
Distribution o
f wolves in Lower Saxony in 2017/2018
on the EEA grid system (
source
).
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
30
For demographic analysis and accurate population size estima
tion, Reinhardt et al.
(
2015b
) recommend working with population indices such as the number of packs and
scent marking pairs. The population size is usually given in sexually mature individuals.
Validated and categorised monitoring data
can then be used to
deduce
the area of
occurrence or population size and to
distinguish
between adjacent territorie
s, pack size
and reproduction. The r
ecommended methods to estimate these parameters are described
by the authors, who
also provide the following definitions:
S
ingle resident wolf: single wolf living in an area for at least six months
(Scent marking) pair: male and female wolf marking together but not (yet) having
reproduced
Pack (family group): a group of more than two wolves living in a territory
Reproductiv
e pack (family group): group consisting of at least one mature wolf with
confirmed reproduction
Mature wolf:
equal to or older than 22 months
Pup: wolf in its first year of life; since most pups are born at the beginning of May,
the transition from pup t
o yearling takes place on 1 May. Accordingly, the official
monitoring year is from 1 May to 30 April.
Yearling: wolf in its second year of life
2.2.2.
Signs and m
ethods used during the expedition
In order to glean useful, high quality data, we followed
Reinhardt et al.’s (2015b)
monitoring methods and ways of documenting and evaluating findings in the field. Citizen
scientists conducted so
-
called presence sign surveys, i.e. they searched for signs of
wolves such as tracks, scats, scratch marks, kills or
direct sightings. Since wolves often
use existing human pathways for travelling and territorial marking, such pathways were
surveyed on foot or by bicycle, sometimes with the use of specially trained dogs to detect
scats. Citizen scientists were given an a
rea to survey each day and they walked or rode
along selected pathways slowly and in small groups and documented the route covered,
as well as all signs found. Data were collected in standardised data sheets
(see appendix
III for week
-
by
-
week survey result
s).
Presence sign surveys can be conducted all year round under almost all environmental
conditions (Reinhardt et al. 2015b). The method is simple but laborious, and often there is
simply a lack of personnel to examine areas. This is where citizen science
can make a
significant contribution, as Foster
-
Smith & Evans (2003) and many others have shown.
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-
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-
profit conserva
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
31
We collected and assessed the following wolf signs, following
Reinhardt et
al.
(
2015
a
):
Tracks
It is not possible
, even for experts,
to make a clear distin
ction between
a
dog and wolf
of
similar size
from single footprints or
a few visible steps. Only p
aw prints
over a longer
track
make the distinction apparent, because wolves t
ypica
l
l
y use
an energy
-
saving gait
called
direct register trot
.
Tracks of wolve
s in direct register trot appear as very straight track
lines
with
hind paws placed i
n the prints of the front paws, a so
-
called overprint pattern
.
Dogs, by contras
t, show a much more erratic track.
Instructions for the expedition team were to record
onl
y
direct register trot
lines
that
(a)
could be
followed
for
at least 100
m and
(b
)
where
at least three separate measurements
of three separate paw prints showed that the
over
print or front paw was
at least 8 cm in
length without claws and
(c
)
where at lea
st three separate measurements of three
separate step lengths showed that
the step length
was
longer than 1.10
m
.
After a training
phase fo
r citizen scientists lasting two
days, all
tracks
found and fitting the criteria
were
to
be
phot
ographed, measured an
d
recorded
in the field and then quality assessed by project
staff back at base on the same day
before entering into data
records (see appendix III)
.
Approved records would have yielded a C2 confirmed observation on the SCALP
classification system (appendi
x II), but no tracks fitting the criteria were found during the
expedition.
Scat
Wolves use
faeces
as
territorial
markers, so faeces
can
often
be found
on paths or
crossings, often i
n exposed spots. Faeces can be identified as wolf, b
ecause they often
co
ntain hair and/or
large fragments of bones and other
prey remain
s
. Additionally
they
usually emit a
typical
strong
wolf
-
like smell. Faeces of wolf puppies cannot be
distinguished from
those of
foxes. Scat is a major source of information as fresh faec
es
ca
n provide genetic material
, w
hich
is important for the genetic monitoring and
identification
of individuals.
Citizen scientists were trained and then collected
f
a
eces
during their surveys, following a
set protocol designed to eliminate contamination. Sam
ples
for genetic analysis were
stored i
n a container of ethanol (96%); s
amples for dietary analysi
s
were
frozen.
Faeces
yield a C1
piece of hard evidence
if g
enetic analyses
confirm
it is
wolf
scat
, or a C2
confirmation
observation
if all
of
the
following
criteria
are met
:
(1) Scat found by wolf track,
(b) scat c
ontains hair, bones, hooves, teeth
, (c) d
iameter > 2.
5 cm
, (d) l
ength > 20 cm
, (e)
photo
graphic
documentation and (d)
written documentation
.
Sightings
Direct sightings are the second most common s
igns for wolf presence in Lower Saxony
(LJN 2017). Wolf sightings yield a C1 piece of hard evidence if a photo or video record
exists and the animal is confirmed as wolf by an expert or experienced person. Wolf
sightings yield a C3 unconfirmed observation
if there is no photo or video record, or if the
animal could not be
categorically
confirmed as a wolf.
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-
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-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
32
Kills (
game or livestock
)
The assessment
and documentation of kills requires
considerable
experience
as well as
permission by the
owner and authoritie
s. As such, kill assessment
can be
conducted by
wolf
commissioners
or veterinarians
only
.
Citizen scientists can assist with, but cannot
conduct kill assessments. Kills yield
a
C1
piece of hard evidence
if g
enetic analysis
confirms wolf
as the predator. Ki
lls yield
C2 confirmed observation
s if the c
arcass was
skinned
and
typical
wolf kill characteristics were found. These can be a combination of (a)
a w
ell
-
placed, bloodless bite
on
the throat
, (b) d
rag mark > 5
m
, (c) m
ore than 5 kg eaten
during the
first n
ight
after the kill, (d) more than
50% of bites
have penetrated the
skin
, (e)
the intercanine
distance
is between 4.0 and
4.5 cm
. Photo and written documentation is
also required.
Hair
Hair
samples
can
yield a C1
piece of hard evidence
only via genetic a
nalysis.
M
icroscopic
examination
of hair
can only determine if a wolf (or canid) can be excluded
, but not confirm
a wolf
.
The citizen scientist
s
were instructed to collect possible wolf hair
in dry paper and
then in
side
a plastic bag for storage.
However,
n
o
wolf hair
was collected during field work
on this expedition.
Camera trapping
Camera traps are a useful tool to gain basic data about wolves. Once an appropriate spot
is found, cameras can collect data on wolf presence, pack size, the physical conditi
on of
individuals or disease symptoms. Camera trap photos yield a C1 piece of hard evidence if
the animal is visible from the side or as completely as possible from the front and all wolf
characteristics are visible, or if the animal is clearly identifiabl
e (transmitter collar, known
wolf with distinguishing features), or if the animal was identified as a wolf by an
experienced person. Camera trap photos yield C3 unconfirmed observation if the animal
cannot
categorically
be confirmed as a wolf, but also can
not be excluded.
The expedition
had camera traps
available
and expedition participants were trained in their usage.
However, due to Germany’s very strict property and data privacy restrictions no suitable
areas to place cameras were found and no camera tra
ps were used during the expedition.
Usage of genetics
G
enetic monitoring of wolves is based
on
non
-
invasively collected sample material, such
as scat or hair.
This proj
ect collected scat
samples,
stored them
and sent
them
via the
State
W
olf
B
ureau
to
the
lab
oratory
of
the
Research Institute Senckenberg
for
genetic
analysis as detailed
by the
Senckenberg Inst
itut für Wildtiergenetik (2018).
Scent dogs
Scent dogs are trained to detect the scent of a target species
represented by scats, hair,
or other sign
s, allowing conclusions about the presence of a species. They can help to
detect species where the human senses and abilities to find signs of the target species are
limited.
The use of scent dogs as a wolf monitoring method is relatively new to Germany,
b
ut has been
widely used
elsewhere
(Long et al. 2007)
.
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-
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-
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
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Long et al. (2007)
describe
the
training
and use of
scent dogs
,
and state that they are
“highly effective at locating scats from forest carnivores and are an efficient and accurate
method for collecti
ng presence
-
absence data on multiple species”. Long et al. (2008) also
compared the effectiveness of scent dogs with other monitoring methods and found that
scent dogs yielded the highest raw detection rate and probability of detection, as well as
the grea
test number of unique detections
compared to other measures, such as camera or
hair
traps
. Reinhardt et al. (2015a) and WWF (2016) suggest and recommend the testing
of this method, especially in new territories with unknown wolf presence or in the peripher
y
of areas of occurrence.
Given this, the project sought the help of scent dogs
,
and a
dog
handler team
from
Wildlife Detection Dogs e.V.
kindly supported the expedition, helping
to
find hidden scats nex
t to the road, behind obstacles or in the high grass
where citizen
scientist were unlikely to detect scat.
2.2.3
.
Expedition work
Field training
All field training was provided as part of the expedition and no prior knowledge was
required. The first tw
o days of each week were dedicated to training the citizen scientists
through a mixture of background talks and presentations, as well as classroom sessions
and practical lessons in the field. Training included recognising wolf sign ID (tracks, scat,
kills
/carcasses, hair or urine), sample collection and handling in accordance with
Kaczensky et al. (2011) and Senckenberg Institut für Wildtiergenetik (2011).
Documentation of findings was also covered, using data sheets and photos following
Reinhardt et al. (
2015a), as well as equipment training on GPS receivers, camera traps,
radios, and use of rulers/yardsticks, cameras and scat collection kits to collect data.
Standardised datasheets, translated from and closely based on those of the
official
wolf
monitorin
g programme, were designed for surveys, tracks, scats, camera trapping and
sightings
,
and citizen scientists were trained on how to complete them correctly.
Typical expedition day
Survey routes were decided in advance with input from
wolf commissioners,
landowners,
land
users and foresters. They were confirmed in the morning
of the expedition day
,
depending on the weather. Each morning the expedition team divided into sub
-
teams of
two or more people, who were assigned to survey a certain area that day. Ea
ch group was
equipped with field and tracking guides, rulers and yardsticks, datasheets, GPS devices,
radios for communication between groups, and a scat collection kit consisting of a plastic
box with paper, bag, surgical gloves and tubes containing alcoh
ol for collecting samples
from which DNA can be obtained from scat or hair. Surveying was done on foot or bike
according to the terrain. Cars were used to reach the survey starting points. Teams had
lunch in the field and returned to base in the afternoon
to log results and discuss findings
with the expedition scientist as part of a standard data quality assessment procedure. The
day ended with a review session where groups presented results to each other, discussed
the survey day and planned the next.
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-
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-
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34
Da
ta collection protocols
and use
When tracks, kills, scats or other signs of wolf were found, citizen scientists recorded them
using GPS receivers, cameras and datasheets in line with monitoring standards. Data
recorded included the
GPS position
of the fin
d
along with details such as
the
number of
individuals (in the case of a sighting), characteristics of footprints and tracks (length, width
and estimated age of the footprint, etc.), the direction of movement of the individual and
the substrate type. Route
and track data were recorded into a GPS device using the track
log and waypoint features and these were backed up and consolidated onto a laptop once
back at base. Photos were taken in line with the monitoring standards and also stored onto
the expedition
laptop following a clearly specified naming protocol. Samples suitable for
DNA analysis were collected in the field into a tube with 96% ethanol and sealed into a
plastic bag. Samples for dietary analyses were collected into sealed plastic bags and deep
f
rozen. All samples were labelled and recorded.
All samples
and data
were quality
assessed
by qualified staff. Only those approved were
analysed
and
sent on for further analysis. Samples for dietary analys
e
s and assessment of
their SCALP status
were
store
d
at
-
18°C before
they were
handed over to the laboratory at
the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation (Institute for Terrestrial and
Aquatic Wildlife Research, Prof. Siebert) after the expedition. Sc
at samples fresh enough
for DNA analysis
and a
ssessment of their SCALP status
were
stored in 96% ethanol
immediately after
they were found
and sent to
the laboratory
of the
Research Institute
Senckenberg
for analysi
s
after the expedition
via the
State W
olf
B
ureau
, which performed
another quality
assessment
. Great care was taken to avoid direct contact and therefore
contamination of the samples.
The photo documentation and data sh
eets of each team were reviewed, quality checked
and
supplemented
by
notes for further data processing. GPS data
were
checked and
visualis
ed in
GIS in the EEA grid system and shared with the expedition team during the
daily review session.
The data gathered
by this study form
part of the official wolf monitoring
programme
of
Lower Saxony. All relevant data
were
integra
ted into the official database and as such
were
reviewed by the official wolf monitoring
programme
and assessed by SCALP
categories.
Since our data form part of the
official wolf monitoring
programme, they
are
published in the official
LJN annual monitorin
g report,
as well as in their quarterly reports.
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
35
2.3. Results
Over
two
weeks
(i.e.
two
groups)
of surveying
,
participants
walked
638
km
and
cycled
100
km, covering
1
5
cells of the EEA 10x10 km grid in total, all of them multiple times so
that
grid cells
were covered
a total of
29
times (Fig. 2.1f, Table 2.3a).
Table 2.3a.
Number of grid cells and length of routes surveyed by the expedition teams during the
two
expedition weeks.
Note that the team split into four or fewer groups
each
day.
Week
Grid
ce
lls
(N)
Routes
total (km)
Routes
day 2**
(km)
Routes
day 3 (km)
Routes
day 4 (km)
Routes
day 5 (km)
Routes
day 6 (km)
1
14
307.72
15.7
0
105.85
77.36
58.61
50
.20
/69.10
2
15
330.68
21.10
75.87
77.5
0
63.01
93.2
0
/31.80
Total
29
*
638.40
(foot)
100.90
(b
i
ke
)
*As
all surveys took place within 1
5 grid cells, some grid cells were surveyed multiple times
** Day 2: training day, survey in one group
S
cat
, sighting
and their S
CALP status
The expedition
found a total of 250
(probable) wolf
scats
in twe
lve EEA grid cells
.
32
scats
were
too old and/or rotten for any further analysis and
discarded
.
2
18
were
admitted
for
SCALP assessment.
Of those 218,
200 were frozen for dietary analysis and sent to the
laboratory at the University of Veterinary Medicine H
annover
(UVMH)
Foundation (Institute
for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
)
and LJN for analysis of wolf diet.
25
of the
200
samples were fresh enough (less than 48 hours old) to yield material for DNA
analysis, so a small sample of these
25
scats
was put in ethanol
and sent to the Research
Institute
Senckenberg
for genetic analysis
&
SCALP assessment
(Fig. 2.3a
&
Table 2.3b).
Samples
shown to be from
wolf by
genetic analysis
were scored as
a
C1 piece of hard
evidence.
Samples
with typical content
such as
bones, hair
and
teeth
, as well as
the right
size
to originate from a wolf
were scored C2
. O
ld
, rotten or bleached
samples
,
which in
their appearance were l
ikely to be from wolf
were scored C3
.
One s
ample
where wolf
could be
genetically excluded w
a
s
scored as
a false positive
. In addition to
these
data,
one
incidence
of a
wolf
sighting during the expedition was
recorded and
submitted to LJN
.
Table 2.3
b
.
Samples gathered by the expedition
and submitted for analysis
.
Week
/
group
Scat samples
tota
l
Scat samples for diet
analysis
Scat samples for
genetic analysis
Wolf
s
ightings
1
125
111
11
0
2
9
3
89
14
1
Total
218
200
25
1
125 scat samples were collected in week one,
and
93 in week two (Table 2.
3
b
). In total, 11
(5%) of the 218 samples were c
lassified as C1 pieces of hard evidence, 69 (32%) as C2
confirmed observations, 137 (63%) as C3 unconfirmed observations and one (
<
1%) did
not originate from a wolf (Fig. 2.3b). The one direct sightin
g of a wolf was classified as a
C
3
unconfirmed observati
on
,
as there was no photo or video taken (because the
encounter only lasted a few seconds).
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-
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-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
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Figure 2.3a.
12
EEA grid cells in which wolf scat samples were collected.
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
37
Figure 2.3b
.
The
218
scat samples
collected by the expedition
by their SCALP
classi
fication.
In week
1, three
scat samples
were
scored
as
C1, 38
as
C2 and 84
as
C3. In week
2,
eight
scat samples
were
scored
as
C1, 31
as
C2,
55
as
C3 and one was
non
-
wolf
false
positive
(Fig. 2.3
c
)
.
Figure 2.3c.
The
218
scat samples
collected by the
expedition
by their SCALP
classification
.
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
38
Dietary analysis
The 2018 expedition submitted 200 scat samples for dietary analysis, which is currently
being conducted by master
s
student Charlotte Steinberg at
UVMH and LJN
. Results will
be published in the 2
019 expedition report. The 2017 expedition submitted 75 scat
samples for dietary analysis (also
analysed
by Charlotte Steinberg) with results
as follows:
Of the 75 samples submitted by the 2017 expedition, only 45 (t
hose that scored C1, C2
and C3a
= unpr
oven evidence, n
early conforming to C2 criteria
)
were examined.
Samples
were washed and sorted
,
and prey remains such as hair, bones and hooves were
assigned to
individual
prey species or groups such as lagomorphs (hares and rabbits). As
reference material
the
UVMH
collection
was used. This
collection
contains
hairs of
different potential prey species,
including
different genders, age groups and parts of the
body. The hair is used for macroscopic
identification
(length, colo
u
r, shape)
,
but also for
microsco
pic alignment (reference slide). Furthermore
,
the collection includes
bones and
teeth of different species, genders and ages.
R
oe deer (30%) and wild boar (29%)
comprised
the most frequent
remains
found in all 45
scat samples analysed
, followed by red de
er (18%)
,
fallow deer (8%)
and a general
deer
species
category (8%) for deer remains that could not be identified down to species level.
L
agomorphs
represent
ed
7%
(see Table 2.
3
c
and Fig. 2.3d).
N
o livestock
remains were
found.
Table 2
.
3c
.
Number of
prey
remains
found
in
N = 45
samples of
C1,
C2,
C3a
qu
ality (multiple content poss.
).
Roe
deer
Wild
boar
Red
deer
Lagomorphs
Fallow
deer
Deer
unidentified
20
19
12
5
5
5
Figure 2.3d
.
Percentage of prey
remains
found
(N = 45
samples of
C1,
C2,
C3a
qua
lity
)
.
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-
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-
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39
From items found in scat, calculation
of
prey animal
biomass
is possible following Ruehe
(2003)
.
This yields
wild boar (34%)
,
red deer (33%), roe deer (12%), fallow deer (11%)
,
unidentified
deer (9%) and
lagomorphs (1%) (
see Fig.
2.3e).
Figure
2.3e
.
Percentage of prey animal biomass found
(N = 45
samples of
C1,
C2,
C3a
quality).
Dietary analysis of
C1 scats only
When
only
C1 scats (N=21) are considered
,
results remain broadly the same
, with
prey
remains
found for roe
deer (38%)
,
wild boar (2
8%), red deer (22%), lagomorphs (9%) and
fallow deer (3%) (Tab
le
2.
3
d
and Fig. 2.3f)
, corresponding to prey animal
biomass
of
red
deer (42%),
wild boar (35%), roe deer (17%), f
allow deer (5%) and lagomorphs (1%) (
see
Fig
.
2.3g)
Table 2
.
3d
.
Number of
prey
items found in
N = 21 samples of C1 quality only (multiple content possible).
Roe
deer
Wild
boar
Red
deer
Lagomorphs
Fallow
deer
12
9
7
3
1
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-
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40
Figure 2.3f
.
Percentage of prey items found
(N = 21 samples of
C1
quality only).
Figure 2.3g
.
Percenta
ge of prey animal biomass found
(N = 21 samples of
C1
quality only)
.
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-
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-
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41
Genetics
25 scat samples
were
sent for
DNA analysis
.
Twelve
of
them
originated from wolves
(Table 2.
3
e
) and
one came from a fox
. For
the remaining
twelve
samples it was not
possible to
determine the
originating
species
as
wolf.
This may be because the sample
quality
was
too poor (too old, too wet) and therefore DNA
could not be extracted
and
sequence
d
.
Ten
samples could be
assigned to individual known wolves through
comparison of existi
ng DNA material
:
six male wolves
and
three
female wolves
, one of
them two times
(
Tab
le 2.
3
f
).
For t
wo
samples the species wolf, but no single individual
,
could be i
dentified
; these
t
wo individuals
were
logged
for
the first time
through
the
expedition.
Tab
le 2.
3
e
.
Results of genetic analyses.
DNA wolf
DNA no wolf
Species not
determinable
Total DNA samples
Week 1
4
0
7
11
Week 2
8
1
5
1
4
Total
12
1
12
25
Table 2.
3
f
.
Details of the
ten
samples that could be assigned to known individual wolves.
No.
Ind
ividual
Gender
Territory
Sampled in week
1
GW317m
male
Schneverdingen
1
2
GW
432f
fe
male
Goehrde
2
3
GW504
m
male
Goehrde
2
4
GW533
m
male
Wietze
2
5
GW964f
male
Die Lucie
2
6
GW1027m
male
Amt Neuhaus
2
7
GW1034
f
fe
male
Goehrde
1
8
GW1034
f
fe
male
Goeh
rde
2
9
GW1
039
m
male
Goehrde
2
10
GW1040m
male
Amt Neuhaus
2
GW317m:
GW317m is the male wolf in the Schneverdingen territory.
Genetics show that
he originated in the Central European wolf population (CEP), but it is unclear in which
pack he was born. H
e
has been
known since the monitoring year 2015/2016 and was
mating with female GW472f, a descendent from th
e pack in the Gartow area (district
Lue
chow
-
Dannenberg). Reproduction
was detected in the years 2016/2017 with
at least
two
litters
, 2017/2018 (7
pu
ppies
) and 2018/2019 (4
puppies
) (LJN 2019).
GW432f
and GW504m
:
T
hese two individuals are the parents
of
the
Goe
hrde pack.
In
2015
both animals
were first identified
and
they
formed a pair
in the Goe
hrde area
. In
2016
reproductive activity
and pack format
ion
was documented
through a sighting of six
puppies
.
Reproduction continued in
2017
with
a minimum of
nine and
in
2018
with
at least
five
offspring
(LJN 2019).
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42
GW
533m: This male wolf, originating
from
Lue
btheen
(state of Mecklenburg
-
Vorpommern)
was
initia
lly
identified
once
in
2016
,
not far from the Wietze ar
e
a
,
where he
was
re
-
identified
by the expedition
in 2018
. In August 2018 a
new wolf pack w
as detected in the
Wietze area, when
at least
seven
offspring
were photographed
by camera trap
(LJN
2019)
.
The
DNA via the scat sample was the first genetic evidence of this pack. It
seemed
likely, though
at that time
not finally confirmed, that he
was
the permanent male wolf of the
territory. Further genetic evidence from the area
from November and December 2018 g
ave
final proof by identifying two offspring of GW533m in the area. One was identified through
a scat sample, the other
was found dead after a traffic accident.
GW964f:
This is the female wolf of the pack in
Die
Lucie’
nature reserve (district
Luechow
-
D
annenberg). Her original pack within the CEP is unknown. In 2017 a
young
male of the
wolf pack near Niesky (
state of
Saxony) was genetically detected
in the same are
a
several
times
. In 2017 four
offspring and in 2018 another four
were recorded
, and therefo
re the
existence of a new pack was
confirmed (LJN 2019).
GW1027m: This male wolf was confirmed in the Munster area in late June 2018. He
originated from the Munster/Bispingen pack.
He was then
identified in Amt Neuhaus
by the
expedition, suggesting that h
e is a transient wolf on the move.
GW1034f:
This
fe
male wolf was identified in the Goehrde area in early June
2018 for
the
first time. The second
piece of
evidence
was found by the expedition.
In total the 2018
expedition
was able to identify her twice
.
H
er
origin and territory
are unclear. Genetics
have shown that she belongs to the CEP
.
GW1039m:
This male wolf was genetically identified
for
the first time
by
the expedition. His
origin is the Goehrde
are
. He was found
illegally shot
dead
in the area on
2
5 August 2018
(LJN 2019
a
).
He was the sixth wolf found illegally killed in Lower Saxony
since records
began in 2003
. In total 62 wolves were found dead over the period J
anuary 2003
March
2019, most of them killed by traffic.
GW1040m: This male wolf, a descendent
of
the pack in the Goehrde area, was genetically
identified
for
the first time
by
the expedition in the Amt Neuhaus area
.
Other
possible wolf
signs
During
th
e expedition, other
possible
signs of wolf presence
were
recorded
, but did not
pass quality assessment procedures and as such were not
submitted to official records.
Instead they
serve as h
ints for upcoming investigations and expeditions. Of this type of
s
ign,
a
total
of seven
tracks (conditions or measurements for rating not met), 32 scats (too
old, not clear, no wolf
-
like smell) and
a variety of fur remains were recorded (Fig. 2.
3
h
).
Scent dogs
Wildlife Detection Dogs e.V.
kindly supported the expediti
on for
four
field work days, with
one dog accompanying a group for a full survey day
each day
. A
total of
five
wol
f scats
were found
by
the dog
.
Four
of them would not have been found without a scent dog.
Surveys with dog assistance took place primarily in
areas with little knowledge about the
wolf presence
in order
to investigate new uncovered areas.
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-
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-
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43
Figure 2.3h
.
Possible wolf signs
(tracks, scats, hair) recorded from
24 June
-
05 July 2018 in 9
EEA grid cells.
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-
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-
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
44
Direct sighting
T
here
was one
wolf
sight
ing
of three animals
by a survey
team of two
citizen scientists
during a survey in the Goe
hrde area.
This encounter was scored
as a
C3
unconfirmed
observation
, as there was no photo or
video taken
(because the encounter only lasted a
few seconds)
.
2.4. Di
scussion and conclusions
2.4.1.
Wolf monitoring science
Areas of wolf activity
The work of
the
2018
expedition
focused
on collecting wolf scat samples for identification
of individual wolves via DNA and for dietary analyses.
The number of scat samples f
ound
in the survey areas
allowed
the expedition
to identify
two
areas of high wolf activity
i
n the
district
of
Luechow
-
Dannen
berg
and the
Celle
/northern Hannover area
(Figs. 2.4a & b).
In
Luechow
-
Dannenberg
,
94 (43%) scat samples
were
collected and in the
Celle/Hannover
area 40 (18%).
Other areas with wolf activity
were identified in the
districts of Uelzen
with 30 (14%)
collected scat samples,
Harburg/Heidekreis
13 (6%)
and
L
ueneburg
9
(4%)
(Fig. 2.4
a &
b)
.
Figure 2
.4a
.
S
cat samples (n = 218)
by are
a collected by the expedition.
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-
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-
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45
Figure 2.4b
Areas of high w
olf activity (red circles) identified by the expedition
.
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
46
Efficiency of effort
data quantity and quality, and cooperation with local stakeholders
The total number of scat samples (218) coll
ected by the expedition
over two weeks
in
2018
to assist official wolf monitoring efforts is outstanding. For comparison, the official
wolf monitoring programme
recorded a total of 215 scat samples in the
entire
monitor
ing
year of 2016/17 (LJN 2017) and ab
out the same amount in the
year
2017/2018 (personal
communication, official report to be published). So o
ur two
-
week long expedition will
double
the scat sample
overall
. It will be interesting to calculate the exact increase of
sample size through citizen
science once the 2017/2018 monitoring year numbers are
published, but it is clear already that our work has made a
very
significant contribution to
wolf monitoring efforts in Lower Saxony in terms of quantity
.
In terms of quality, the work of the citizen
scientists
was excellent too. The
amount
of
C1
and C2
scats collected by the expedition
was 37%
in 2018 and 54% in 2017 (Schütte and
Hammer 2018)
, compared to 40% collected by the
official wolf monitoring programme in
the monitoring year of 2016/17 (LJN 20
17). This
clearly
shows that with a day and a half of
training, citizen scientists can make high quality and high quantity contributions.
The main
reason
to
also
send
C3 scat samples to the
laboratory
was the demand for samples for the
dietary analysis. At
the start of the expedition it was unknown that only C1, C2 and C3a
samples would get analysed. So it could be assumed that the percentage of C1 and
C2
records could be
even
higher, if the focus
had
been on
those
only.
Our
main
goal was to collect wolf s
ign
s
, with an emphasis on finding scat samples, in
Lower Saxony in order simply to
assist
official wolf monitoring efforts and supplement the
wolf monitoring database. However, data collected by this expedition
led to some
important
conclusions
about some
of the wolf territories and newly identified individual
wolves.
We conducted
the
2018
surveys partly in areas with similar or
the
same survey
routes as in the previous year
(Schütte and Hammer 2018)
. But new areas
were
added
too.
Thanks to the outstanding
cooperation
of
some wolf commissioners, study areas
could be selected precisely, so that
a
high number of usable
scat
samples could be
collected.
This is also the main reason why the inaugural 2017 expedition collected only
76 scats with four groups
(Schüt
te and Hammer 2018)
, whereas the 2018 expedition
collected 2
1
8 scats with two groups.
In addition, and thanks to the co
-
operation of the State Forestry D
epartment
(Niedersächsische Landesforsten),
new areas
were included
in our monitoring activities,
and
in some
areas
we
were asked by the State Forestry Departme
nt
to
conduct
surveys.
This is in marked contrast to the State Forestry Department’s conduct in 2017 when it
forbade the expedition to enter certain areas due to smear and misinformation campaign
s
by anti
-
wolf elements amongst the hunting community and/or political class (see
Schü
tte
and Hammer
2018
for details).
The distances of survey routes varied from day to day. This was due to very varied
habitats and different vegetation on the tracks. Espec
ially in June and July, vegetation
growth
was
extremely high due to high rainfall and heat. Thus wide gravel forest road
s
could be surveyed faster (sometimes by bike) than little used, overgrown forest
tracks
or
an overgrown path in a swampy area. In addit
ion, groups differed in walking/cycling and
surveying speed, often as a function of the number of signs found
and for
some study
areas the travel time
to the survey area was two
hours
each
way.
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-
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-
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47
A
total of
ten
individual wolves
were identified
via DNA
sampl
es collected by the expedition
in 2018
(six in 2017)
, one of them two times, namely the adult female GW
1034
f
.
Two
wolves
were
genetically identified
for
the first time
by
expedition
finds
, GW1039m and
GW1040m
, both descendents from the pack in the Goehrde
area
.
In addition
, by
identifying
GW317m (Schneverdingen), GW964f
(Die
Lucie)
and wolf pair GW432f and
GW504m
(Goehrde)
,
insights into their movement ranges and possible offspring could be
gained.
The evidence of
GW533m
in the Wietze area
was evidence for
the
establishment
of a pack
there
,
corroborat
e
d by the
sightings
and later the genetic identification
of
offspring
.
Thus
far there ha
s
been no more genetic proof of other animals.
GW1027m
, originating
in
Munster and sampled in Amt Neuhaus,
demonstrates
the migration of young wolves
through other territories in search of their own.
Exact information about territory,
kinship
and
offspring
or
migration routes can only be
gleaned
partially
by the official wolf
monitoring
programme
. For a comprehensive pictur
e, there simply is not enough
inform
ation in the form of DNA
samples. In other words, despite all efforts, not least of the
expedition, many more
samples
and a well
-
planned
active monitoring effort
are necessary.
For the monitoring year 2016/17 reproducti
on was detected in 87% of the wolf packs in
all
of
Germany
(DBBW 2018b
)
. This means
that
an increase
in
the wolf population is
highly
likely and that more territories will be occupied, including in Lower Saxony.
Active
monitoring is essential to track thos
e changes
.
The results of the dietary analysis are based on prey remains in the scat samples collected
in the survey areas of the
2017
expedition. They do not represent the food spectrum of
wolves in general, but give hints about the food items of wolves
in the study areas as well
as
information
about more important and less important prey species.
Based on the
available sam
p
le of 45 scats, wild ungulates (
mainly roe deer, wild boar, red deer
)
are the
food base of wolves.
It is
significant
that no remains
of livestock were
found
. This
corrobarates previous studies, which showed that
the proportion of livestock
in the wolf’s
diet
is very low or absent altogether
(DBBW 2018b)
.
This may vary regionally, depending
on the availability of wildlife prey and unprot
ected grazing livestock.
We await the
completion and publication of the laboratory research on dietary analysis
overall and of the
scat samples collected during the 2018 expedition
.
Of course wolves do attack, kill and
consume livestock, but the data colle
cted by this expedition suggest that this is rare.
E
xpedition participant
s
in
almost
750
km of
survey covered (
638 km on foot and 100
km
on bicycles)
had
at least
one encounter
.
No wolf was seen in
four weeks and over 1,100
km
of survey
in
the 2017 expedi
tion
(Schütte and Hammer 2018)
.
I
t is clear that the
chances of encountering a wolf during daytime, even when looking for wolf sign
s
in
suitable habitat, are very small. Reports in the media and by anti
-
wolf campaigners of the
state being “overrun” by wolv
es are therefore clearly exaggerated.
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-
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-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
48
2.4.2.
Team composition
24 citizen scientists took part in the 2018 expedition, divided into two groups of twelve
persons each and lasting a week. 16 people came from Germany or its immediate
neighbour countries
(67%), two of them (8%) from Lower Saxony
. Three
participants
came from North America (12.5%), another three from the UK (12.5%), a
s well as one
person each from
Australia (4%) and Iceland (4%).
In 2017 the composition was 49 citizen
scientists:
42 from G
ermany or its immediate neighbour states (86%) with four of them
(8%) from Lower Saxony, three from North America (6%), two from Australia (4%), as well
as one person each from India (2%) and Singapore (2%).
One of the criticisms levied at the expedition
in the media
around the time of the 2017
expedition
was that it was “
absurd and illogical
” to import foreigners from as far away as
Australia to conduct citizen science work and that l
ocal people should do the work instead.
Of the
63
citizen scientists
,
the vast majori
t
y
came from Europe
with
8% from Lower
Saxony. Biosphere Expeditions does not exclude people from expeditions based on their
origin and as such will continue to host those
from around the world who commit their time
and funds to this project, irrespective of their ethnic origin, creed,
colour
, etc. However, it is
agreed that local involvement is highly desirable and we will continue and increase our
efforts to recruit local
people through a combination of local media work and by making
free placements on the expedition available for local people. It is also important to note
that all wolf commissioners involved in the expedition were local and that some of them
specifically
requested help to cover their large survey patches.
2.4.3.
Media coverage and
attitude
to
ward
the expedition
Media coverage continues to be overwhelmingly positive. If there is negative coverage, it
is exclusively in the local, provincial media. The smea
rs and misinformation campaign that
marred the inaugural 2017 expedition (see Schütte and Hammer 2018 for details) have
largely ceased. We believe this is due to the significant results published in the 2017
report, demonstrating that citizen science is va
lid and helpful, as well as the
Biosphere
Expediti
ons / State Wolf B
ure
a
u clarification of facts on 14 July 2017
and the
open letter to
Helmut
Dammann
-
Tamke
on 9 October 2017
(
one of t
he main perpetrators of the smear
and misinformation campaign). Indeed there have been messages of incredulity about the
way the expedition was portrayed in 2017 by elected politicians and state authorities, as
well as
messages of support
, for example by well
-
known wolf expert Ulrich
Wotschikowsky.
The fact that the State Forestry Department turned from aggressively
questioning the expedition and forbidding
access to certain areas in 2017 to
being
highly
cooperative, including working with the expedition on areas to be surveyed, in 2018 is a
very welcome case in point.
The hostility that the expedition was, and in some cases is, treated with
demonstrates
wha
t an emotionally and politically charged subject the return of the wolf has become. The
way
in which this
issue is discussed is in parts absurd and bears no relation to the
relatively
small number of wolves resident in Germany (see above), or the perceived
or
actual harm they do to humans or livestock
, which is absent (in case of humans) or
insignificant (
for example
in comparison to the damage
from
other wildlife species
)
.
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-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
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Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
49
Positive aspects and opportunities connected to the wolf’s return are almost entirel
y
absent from the discussion
(see below)
, which appears to be dominated by a vocal anti
-
wolf minority
, which
does not reflect the welcoming stance of the
significant
majority of
Germans
and
indeed
Austrians
.
With recent declarations by influential politicians,
especially on the
conservative
and
liberal
side of the political spectrum, but also by the
social democrats
, that wolves must be killed and controlled, despite their strictly protected
status in German and EU law
, there is concern that the vocal anti
-
wolf minority may be
gaining the upper hand in the discussion about t
he wolf’s future in Germany.
2.4.4.
The future of the wolf in Germany
challenges and opportunities
Despite these calls for wolves to be killed, t
he wolf has returned to
Germany to stay. It is a
highly adaptable generalist that can live almost anywhere
in Germany’s highly cultivated
and fragmented landscape. It is also a
highly protected species that
has
the full protection
of the law.
Although
some conservative
politicians
have unilateral
ly declared, without any
basis in scientific fact, that the wolf in some German states has reached a
favourable
conservation state
that can trigger management measures, including culls, the species is
in fact nowhere near this state. Calls for culls are t
herefore unwarranted as well as
counterproductive, because shooting a wolf almost never solves the problem at hand.
Herds still have to be protected, whether there are one or several wolves, who can travel
great distances in a single day, in the region; re
moving a wolf also upsets existing
pack
structures, which
invariably
lead
s
to an increase in livestock attacks
(Wielgus and Peebles
2014)
.
Wolves also do not “learn” anything, as is often asserted, if a wolf
is killed
, even if
the surviving wolves witness the kill, as they are unable to make the connection between a
livestock attack that occurred at a different time and place and the retaliatory killing.
Most people in Lower Saxony will never see a wolf in
the wild
or
suffer any detrimental
effect
s
through the wolf’s presence in their state.
A significant majority of Germans
also
support the wolf’s presence in their country
. The key to
successful
human/wolf co
-
existence
in dens
e
ly populated and cultivated Germany
therefore lies in supporting those
who are exposed to genuine risks by wolf presence. Since
w
olves very rarely represent a
threat to humans
, including children, this means supporting livestock owners and listening
to their experiences and concerns. Livestock protection measures in areas frequented by
wolves are a must and they must be applied con
sistently and effectively.
Advice
exists
on
how to do this and support networks are available for livestock owners
, as are
compensation schemes if effective livestock measures were in place and
liv
estock
predation by wolves still occurred
, which is rare. However, because of the federal system
in
Germany, such schemes are often disjointed
, bureaucratic
,
slow
and differ significantly
from state to state. Nationwide schemes and procedures are rare, but
in our opinion
essential
and our advice is to nationalise them and generate true nationwide
, effective,
efficient and unbu
r
e
aucratic support and compensation schemes.
The wolf’s return does
have its challenges and it is important not to leave those facing
the brunt of them exposed
and fending for themselves.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
50
That
said, it is by and large the challenges that receive most attention, with opportunities
through the wolf returning being largely ignored. It can be argued that especially in nature
-
based, susta
inable tourism there are many, currently untapped, areas of opportunity. The
expedition covered in this report is a case in point. We believe the citizen scientists who
contributed their time and money to take part in this project deserve our respect, rath
er
than derision. They also serve as a showcase of how the wolf can attract people to
Germany; people who went on record to say that the species makes Germany "even more
attractive" and that "the world could learn from how people in Germany are trying to
c
oexist with wolves" (
source
). We argue that this enthusiasm and positive view of
Germany has great potential for tourism. Many
countries achieve significants amounts of
income through nature
-
based tourism
and
tourism operators should be encouraged to
consider this and its implication for Germany. The expedition covered in this report ser
ves
as a showcase and demonstrates how (citizen) science, domestic and international
visitors, wolf research and conservation, local NGOs and providers of touristic services all
benefit.
2.4.5.
Summary
The wolf has returned to Germany to stay. Those who
do not like this and employ
misinformation
, populism and demagogy to incite conflict
and highly emotional, politically
charged and irrational arguments against wolves
must be countered each time with calm,
fact
ual
and science
-
based
discourse
. Those who are
exposed to real risks through wolves,
namely livestock owners,
should
be listened to, supported and compensated as
necessary, ideally through an effective, unbureaucractic
and
nationwide support and
advice
system.
We believe that
a system of regionally
active, trained professionals is needed, who can
respond to
questions
about and issues around
wolv
es directly, unbureaucratically
and
competently,
and act
close to the ground and in
close
cooperation
with
the local population
and stakeholders
.
So far the f
ederal and state goverments
, as well as agricultural and
vetener
inar
ian bodies
,
have failed to create appropriate structures
, which are necessary
when a large carnivore returns to a cultural landscape
.
In addition, we believe that more must be done to st
op illegal wolf killings. The records of
wolves found dead, taken since 2003, show that illegal shooting of this protected species
is the second most common form of death (13%) after traffic
accidents
(
78
%); the
remaining 9% is due to
diseases
or other rea
sons
(
NLWKN 2019a)
.
A particularly sad
example of this is male wolf GW1039m whose existence was shown by the expedition
,
only to be
found shot dead
shortly after
in August 2018. Presumably there is a
high
percentage of unreported killings
which constitute
criminal offense
s
. Here, the investigative
authorities and courts
must work harder
to stop this and prosecute perpetrators
, as
for
example in the
n
eighbouring
federal state of Saxony
-
Anhalt
.
Whilst there are challenges that come with wolf presence, there are opportunities too,
which have been largely ignored. We see the biggest potential in rural communities
generating income through tourism based
on nature and wolf presence.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
51
Next to large
-
scale, national issues, this project on a Lower Saxony state and regional
scale, and in close collaboration with the State Wolf Bureau, not onl
y reached its goals, it
exceeded, now also in its
second year
,
all e
xpectations. It is clear that the efforts of well
-
trained citizen
scientists
deployed as part of a well
-
planned fieldwork expedition can be
very productive and that highly valuable data can be acquired through targeted active wolf
monitoring work conducted
by citizen scientists. This refutes those who doubted that
citizen science could make a useful contribution. This doubt was especially prevalent
amongst hunters, hunting associations and some forestry landowners before and during
the inaugural
2017
expedi
tion
, but has changed
in some quarters after
the results
of the
2017 expedition were published
.
For example, the State Forestry D
epartment now
supports the expedition and i
t is hoped that the results presented here will encourage
others
too
to give up
thei
r
negative and non
-
collaborative stance, as well as their publically
voiced populist prejudices based on erroneous assumptions and assertions. The authors
are, and
always
have been, ready to collaborate in the spirit of successful wolf
conservation and wol
f/human co
-
existence in Lower Saxony.
2.4.6.
Recommendations for future expeditions
Repeat the expedition on an annual basis
Adapt/improve methods and logistics as necessary, based on an annual review of
activities.
Establish camera trapping efforts w
herever possible within the limitations of privacy
and property laws.
Find funding to e
xtend the use of scent dogs during the expedition to establish and
promote their effectiveness for wolf monitoring purposes.
Test new methods such as video scats (Ca
nu et al. 2017).
Gain support from more wolf
commissioners
and district nature conservation
authorities for active monitoring in areas of specific interest
.
Offer support to other project
s
being involved in wolf monitoring
.
Improve communications with s
takeholders.
Repeat offers to stakeholders, such as hunting associations
and
forestry
departments, to use/involve
/allow
the efforts of Biosphere Expeditions, e.g. camera
trapping
and sign surveys
.
Involve local, national and international citizen scien
tist
s
Seek grant and other support, or fund internally, free placements for loca
l people on
the expedition.
W
ork with the media to encourage more local participation.
© Biosphere Expeditions, a not
-
for
-
profit conserva
tion organisation registered in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, USA
Member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
52
2.5. Literature cited
ARD 2018
,
Pla
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A
vailable
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wissen.de/natur/wildtiere/woelfe_in_deutschland/index.html
[
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]
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R., Andreas & Angst, C. &
Molinari
-
Jobin, A. & Molinari, P. & Linnell, J. & Siegenthaler, A. & Weber, J.
-
M.
2006
,
Guidelines for the
Monitoring of Lynx,
KORA Bericht Nr. 33
e. A
vailable
from
http://www.kora.ch/fileadmin/file_sharing/5_Bibliothek/52_KORA_Publikationen/520_KORA_Berichte/K
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[
06 January 2019
]
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BMUB
-
Bunde
sministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit 2015
,
Bericht zur
Lebensweise, zum Status und zum Management des Wolfes (
Canis lupus
) in Deutschland
(A
usschussdrucksache 18(16)313)
.
Available from
https://www.bundestag.de/resource/blob/393542/5e21bfea995e1f0f0f19271d442f365d/bericht
-
bmub
-
data.pdf
[21 April 2019]
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BfN
-
Bundesamt für Nat
urschutz
2018
,
Aktuelle Zahlen: 73
Wolf
srudel in Deutschland.
A
vailable
from
https://www.bfn.de/presse/pressemitteilung.html?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_ne
ws%5D=6528&cHas
h=7c4f7f6a22d9be2141bcdf6a32b67a7c
[
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]
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Canu, A., Mattioli, L. Santini, A., Apollonio, M., Scandura, M. 2017
,
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-
scats’: combining camera
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-
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s in gray wolf.
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vailable
from
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[
08 May 2018
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und Beratungsstelle des Bundes
zum Thema Wolf 2018
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A
vailable
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wolf.de/Wolf_Steckbrief/portrait
[
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2019
]
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und Beratungsstelle des Bund
es zum Thema Wolf
2018a
,
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in
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-
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-
territorien
[
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]
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A
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-
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-
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%2020162017_final.pdf
[
13
January 2019
]
.
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-
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-
und
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des Bundes zum
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,
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avai
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-
wolf.de/Wolfsmanagement/herdenschutz
[
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]
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ür Wölfe in Deutschland. Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und
Reaktorsicherheit/Anhörun
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vailable
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[
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]
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[
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]
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