Could wolves win the title next year?

Wolves in Germany

The most important facts at a glance

After they had been exterminated in Germany for a long time, the first wolf pups were born in freedom in 2000. Since then the wolves have been reclaiming their old habitat. Where do you live in Germany, how did you return and where do you come from?

Wolves in Germany - packs and pairs with a fixed territory are recorded.

From a nature conservation point of view, it is one of the greatest successes: There are wolves living in the wild again in Germany! After they had been exterminated here for around 150 years, the first wolf pups were born in freedom in 2000 - on a military training area in Upper Lusatia, Saxony. Since then, wolves have been slowly reclaiming their old habitats and each year they successfully raise offspring in Germany.

But every year wolves also die an unnatural death - from traffic accidents and illegal killings. The map of the dead wolves found in Germany from 2000 to April 2021:

Where can wolves live in Germany?

Wolves do not need wilderness to settle - they can get by wherever they can find enough to eat and where humans let them live. A look at other European countries shows that they are very flexible: In Spain, wolves live in the midst of huge agricultural monocultures, in Italy suburbs of Rome are also part of their habitat.

In Germany, according to a study by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, there are suitable regions for wolves in every federal state, except in the three city-states of Hamburg, Berlin and Bremen. But the study also shows that there are many areas where wolves will probably never live. For example, because there is too little game or too many roads. It is therefore assumed that Germany will never be populated by wolves across the board, but rather resembling a patchwork quilt. However, migrating wolves can also appear in structured areas, where they are unfortunately often run over. A particularly striking example is the wolf who died in January 2019 on a busy road through the Frankfurt city forest. To get here, he had previously had to cross many traffic arteries.

Historical distribution

The wolf was once the most widespread mammal in the world alongside humans: until the Neolithic Age, wolves were found in almost the entire northern hemisphere. Today, however, they only live in less than two thirds of the original habitat.

The wolf has even completely disappeared from many parts of Europe - where it was exterminated by humans. In Germany, for example, the last evidence of a wolf pack is lost in Brandenburg around 1850. In 1990 the animals were placed under legal protection nationwide and the foundation stone for the return of the wolves was laid.

Almost 20 years ago the first wolf pups were born in freedom, today a total of 128 wolf packs, 35 pairs and 10 territorial solitary animals live in Germany.

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