Protecting Wolves in Europe

The hounded hunters

Mankind's relationship to the wolf is ambivalent – on the one hand the animal is admired as a skilled and untiring hunter but also ill-famed as Isengrim the bloodthirsty and persecuted. In many parts of Europe these once common grey-coated raiders have long disappeared. EuroNatur is collaborating with internationally recognized wolf experts and selected partners in promoting ways to make it possible for wolves to re-establish themselves in Europe again.

What are the threats to wolves in Europe?

Wolves are highly adaptable and could in fact flourish in a variety of habitats. However in the course of centuries they have been driven back into more and more remote wooded areas. In many countries they have been mercilessly hunted and finally wiped out. Although today the wolf is granted highest protection status in many EU countries there are still repeated incidents of wolves being shot. In addition the increasing fragmentation of the countryside through the construction of roads, housing developments and the intensification of farming methods all pose problems for their survival.

In which regions is EuroNatur campaigning for the interests of wolves?

Today there are still considerable wolf populations for example in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans. This is why the main focus of our work is on Poland, Bulgaria and Croatia. But we also support the successful return of the wolf in Germany.

What actions is EuroNatur taking for the protection of the wolf in Europe?

  • Creating valuable databases: Working with our partners, we are making sure that the wolf population is reliably recorded and monitored in order to create successful protection concepts.
  • Conserving habitats: We are campaigning to have valuable wolf habitats designated as protected areas.
  • Securing sources of food: EuroNatur encourages and supports projects which use extensive grazing systems. In doing this we are creating an important precondition for carrion eaters such as wolves to find sufficient food in the form of the carcasses of farm animals left lying.
  • Stabilizing the population: We are working to create optimum living conditions for wolves and to improve the legal protection status of the species in countries such as Bulgaria.
  • Connecting populations: In order to link up isolated populations of wolves we are driving forward the maintenance and restoration of ecological corridors. This enables genetic exchange between the various wolf populations.
  • Building bridges: Working with international experts we are developing solutions to keep the negative impact of roads on large predators such as bear, wolf and lynx and their prey as small as possible. Read more on the EuroNatur project Trans-European Wildlife Networks (TEWN).
  • Diffusing the potential for conflicts: Together with our local partners we are developing comprehensive management plans to create a foundation for a conflict-free coexistence of wolves and humans.
  • Creating acceptance: We are running educational outreach campaigns for the local population to help people view wolves in a friendlier and more appropriate light.
  • Tackling poaching: by setting up an increasingly close network of experts and cooperation partners we are creating the conditions in which wolves are protected against illegal attacks.

EuroNatur projects for the protection of wolves in Europe

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Portrait of the grey wolf - facts and figures

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