Protecting wolves in Poland

Connecting wildlife corridors

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© Joachim Flachs

Poland as the source of wolves in Germany

Since 2000 wolves which have found their way into Upper Lusatia (Lausitz) in Saxony have begun to re-conquer their former territory in Germany. In the meantime the wolves have established near the border to Poland. The results of genetic analyses have confirmed that the German wolves are closely related to those in Eastern Poland; which is why the future of the grey-coated hunters in Germany is closely linked with the development of the wolf population and the range of their roaming in Poland.

Barriers to roaming

According to analyses by EuroNatur partners there would be three times the number of wolves in Poland if there were enough wildlife corridors for them to roam along. At present roaming from the East of Poland to the West is becoming more and more difficult. Intensive use of land, road construction and human settlement now cut across the earlier corridors used by these animals thereby fragmenting their habitats.

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What actions is EuroNatur taking for wolves in Poland?

  • Advancing the basis of scientific knowledge: The information from country-wide monitoring of wolves and numerous studies form a valuable foundation on which to develop appropriate measures for the protection and management of wolves.
  • Increasing wolf acceptance: We support our partners in their educational outreach in which they work to create an understanding among the Polish people of the need for wolf protection.
  • Protecting habitats: Together with our Polish partners we are working to conserve and restore habitats and wolf corridors in Poland.
  • Connecting habitats: On the basis of long-term studies of the corridors used by wolves we gather and elaborate suggestions for how to avoid negative impacts of landscape fragmentation on wildlife and its habitats. Read more on the EuroNatur project Trans-European Wildlife Networks (TEWN).

What we have achieved so far – a selection of important successes:

  • In the meantime the Polish government has granted funding for the building of green bridges and tunnels. In the Northwest of the country there are now numerous structures in place by means of which wolves and their prey can cross roads and railway lines.
  • After massive protests from nature conservation organisations, with EuroNatur among them, in March 2009 the Polish government decided to refrain from expanding the Via Baltica motorway in the Northeast of Poland along the route originally planned. This route would have fragmented valuable habitats of wolves and other wildlife and in doing so materially harmed these populations.

Partners: Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (MRI) in Bialowieza, and the Association for Nature”Wolf” (WILK)

Sponsoring: EuroNatur donors and sponsor


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