On the track of Geralt - September's "Wolf Workshop"

On September 23, we organized another field workshop for friends of our Foundation and journalists interested in wolf ecology.

The first item on the agenda was the search for the tracks of Geralt – one of our wolves equipped with a GPS collar.

After a brief introduction to the methodology of our research, we went to the place where, according to the data from the collar, Geralt had sat the day before. Walking first along a forest road, and then cutting through dense thickets, we looked for signs of the wolf’s presence. After just a few hundred meters we noticed the first wolf tracks on the path, so we were sure we were going in the right direction. We literally followed Geralt’s footsteps, and soon arrived at the remains of his meal. There wasn’t much left of the big red deer. We are not sure if it was Geralt who hunted it, but he certainly fed on it. We also found chewed fruits next to the spine that had been thoroughly cleaned of meat. Eating berries and other forest fruits is not unusual for wolves and they do it quite often.

At one point, a strong aroma of carrion wafted to our nostrils – we surmised that somewhere nearby there should be the rest of the prey, so we followed our sense of smell. It took only a dozen steps to the side, into the dense bushes, to find more pieces of the bull – this time ribs. At Geralt’s next location, a few hundred meters away, we came across a wolf’s lair crumpled in the forest litter. Geralt had slept in it the previous day for several hours, and then moved further.

During our walk, every now and then we tried to track the wolf to find out if it was still somewhere nearby. The receiver remained silent. Only after we returned to the base we checked the latest locations from the collar – it turned out that while we were admiring the remains of Geralt’s lunch, he was already a few kilometers away, visiting his parents.

Around 4 pm we returned to the base. We ate a meal together, talking about wolves, the fragmentation of their habitat and poaching. Before evening, we set off again for the forest, this time to stimulate howling. On the way, we made a short stop in the heart of the Świętokrzyska Forest. Admiring the old beeches, oaks, larches and firs, we strolled through one of the most beautiful areas of the Forest, near the Świnia Góra Reserve.

Just before sunset we drove near the rendez-vous of the wolf family we monitored, where we called out. Unfortunately, the wolves did not answer us. However, we knew they were nearby, as the receiver from the telemetry antenna loudly let us know that Geralt was right there. Maybe he stayed with his younger siblings while his parents went to hunt something for dinner? The night was beautiful, calm and starry. The temperature dropped sharply, so after several minutes of listening to the sounds of the forest and the hooting of the tawny owl, we headed back to base camp.

Author: Joanna Toczydłowska