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

Wolf workshop

On 18th December in Puszcza Swietokrzyska, we organized a “wolf workshop” for the winners of our photo contest.

Although the weather that day was not ideal, because the snow (on which we were counting for wolf tracking) had disappeared, we managed to carry out the plan fully. Before noon we gathered at the center near Skarżysko-Kamienna, where we first had a warming cup of tea and coffee and got acquainted with the workshop program and the theory on wolf monitoring, telemetry and research methods.

After the theory came time for practice. We set off to the forest in the Fund’s off-road vehicles, and traversing the forest’s muddy roads, we reached the area where the recently trapped wolf Geralt with a telemetry collar stayed. Using a directional antenna, the participants tried to pick up the signal sent by the collar, which they did successfully. The signal was weak at first, but it got stronger as we moved around, until we reached a spot where it was very firm, making it possible to locate the wolf 200-250 meters away from us. Unfortunately, it was hiding in the thicket of the forest, so it was impossible to see it, but just knowing that the animal was so close brought smiles to the faces of our guests. The rain, which seemed to spoil the trip a bit, made the forest road wet and gave the opportunity to find wolf tracks on it. So, the lack of snow was not an obstacle to take a close look at the imprint of big paws and even follow a piece of its trail. During our rally, we also came across wolf droppings left on the road, carefully collected by our researchers into a plastic bag, labeled with the date and coordinates of where they were found. The participants learned that they will be used for research to determine the components of a wolf’s diet and for genetic research on the local population. The plan for this part was completed. We returned to the base, where after a meal the participants, watched a presentation prepared by the head of our project, Prof. Roman Gula, during which he talked extensively about the activities of the Fund, the life of wolves and also answered numerous questions about wolf behavior.

The last thing we planned for the participants was a night escapade into the depths of the forest to try to get a wolf’s response through a simulation of wolf howling, and to give our guests a chance to become acquainted with these beautiful songs. We were apprehensive because we knew from experience that with the weather that evening, it would be very difficult to get the wolves to “talk,” but… we did it! After telemetrically tracking Geralt, in the surrounding darkness, we wailed, and he answered! With a long, drawn-out howl, he informed us of his presence. With that, the field workshop was a great success. We came back, warmed ourselves up with tea and talked about wolves and other topics long into the night.

Author: Maciej Szymczak