31. January 2022In Wolf protection, Wolf workshop, Poland

Report from the January "Wolf Workshop"

On Saturday, January 15th, in the forests near Skarżysko-Kamienna another “Wolf workshop” organized by our Foundation took place.

During the workshop the participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the specifics of wolf researchers’ work, to collect their own material and to try to track one of the collared wolves using professional equipment.

The workshop started at 11:00 with a presentation of telemetry technologies. Participants were able to see up close the telemetry collars used in the past and those we use today.

After a brief lecture on telemetry, the plan for the next few hours was presented, and then we headed into the woods to search for Geralt the wolf.

On the trail of Geralt

Geralt, a young male collared by us in late 2021, was located by our volunteers on the morning of the same day. We had hoped to find him again during a workshop in the same area, unfortunately it was not that easy. The hunt that took place just before the workshop had scared away the animals from the part of the forest where Geralt had been in the morning. He also disappeared from our “radars”.

During the several hours of searching for the signal from the wolf’s collar transmitter, we found many interesting traces left by the forest inhabitants. Almost at every step, wolf droppings were waiting for us, which we collected to analyze the wolf diet. Each of the participants had a chance to see how the work of a field biologist looks like and to collect, label and bag wolf droppings with their own hands. At the same time, the participants were able to see with their own eyes what a wolf’s diet looks like. Hair and even pieces of bone were clearly visible in the droppings!

An interesting find was a deer leg lying on the side of the road, most likely the remains of a meal of one of the wolves.

Driving through the forest in all-terrain vehicles we stopped a few times and tried to track down Geralt. The participants took on the role of researchers operating the antenna, and listening to the noise of the ether they tried to pick out the cyclical beeps indicating that the collar was tracked. Unfortunately, to no avail. However, on our way back to the base we came across wolf tracks, most probably from the previous day, as well as some more droppings, which due to the interesting smell aroused exceptional emotions in our participants.

Howling under the full moon

After returning to the base we went for a common meal, followed by a lecture on wolves and the activities of our foundation. Around 7 p.m., when we received fresh GPS data on Geralt’s location, we set off into the forest again. Near the place where the wolf should be, we called out. To the delight of the participants, after a few tense seconds we heard the answer! Not only did Geralt howl at us, but so did the rest of his family members – the entire pack answered us!

Since another attempt to elicit a response from the wolves failed, we drove on. At the next stop, we called out all together, the whole group. Although none of the wolves answered us, the excitement of howling together under a full wolf moon, in the middle of a dark forest, made up for it 100%.

Author: Joanna