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Mon Feb 18, 2019, 04:41 AM

Germany's wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally: the military. [View all]

The population growth “is quite impressive," says Ilka Reinhardt, a biologist with Lupus, the German Institute for Wolf Monitoring and Research in Spreewitz, who has been involved in efforts to study the wolves since they returned to Germany. The latest data suggest the country has 47 packs and 21 pairs of wolves. "Twenty years ago, no one would have expected this," she adds, noting Germany’s fragmented habitat and the prevalence of roads and humans. "It shows how adaptable wolves are."

Reinhardt was particularly struck by their occurrence in military areas. "This was surprising to us," she says. She and her colleagues noticed that the first pair of wolves to show up in a new state always settled on a military training ground. The second pair, and usually the third also sought out military lands. After that, subsequent breeding pairs would be detected in protected areas or other habitats, the team reports this week online in Conservation Letters.

The military training grounds were clearly a desired location for pioneers, but what was the appeal? Reinhardt could find no sign that habitat was better there than in nature reserves, as measured by the amount of forest and density of roads. But when they compiled the death records, they were shocked to find that wolf mortality rates were higher in protected areas than in the military training grounds.

The difference seems to be poaching. Although the military training grounds are not fenced—which means wolves and deer can enter and leave at will—they are closed to the public and posted with many signs. The deer populations are managed by federal foresters, so when private hunting occurs, it is strictly regulated. This means fewer opportunities for poaching wolves, Reinhardt says.


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Reply Germany's wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally: the military. [View all]
Cattledog Feb 2019 OP
crazytown Feb 2019 #1
shanny Feb 2019 #2
pazzyanne Feb 2019 #4
Duppers Feb 2019 #7
pazzyanne Feb 2019 #3
crazytown Feb 2019 #5
littlemissmartypants Feb 2019 #6
Bayard Feb 2019 #8
Duppers Feb 2019 #9