4. September 2020|In Wolf protection

Wolves in Stara Dąbrowa

This summer, I had the opportunity to study wolves in a very charming place in the Lubuskie Province. The Natura 2000 area “Stara Dąbrowa w Korytach”, located several kilometers west of Świebodzin, is a small (16 km2) part of the huge Rzepińska Primeval Forest. It is also one of the few places in Poland where we can still see the beautiful old-growth oak forest. Wolves are under protection in this area; therefore, as part of the Conservation Action Plan [Plan Zadań Ochronnych], their number should be estimated. However, determining the number of wolves in just one month, in the summer, when there is no snow, seems to be impossible. In this situation, the only thing left for me was to record the wolves in photo traps.
Due to its small size, this area may constitute only 5-10% of the wolf family acreage, so when installing photo-traps, I was not expecting many videos with wolves. However, the wolves surprised me – when I came back after a month to check the cameras, it turned out that they had recorded each of them several times! On the night of August 16, a group of 4 wolves was recorded on two photo-traps located on a forest road 2, 2040 m away, 15 minutes apart. This means that they were traveling at a speed of over 8 km/h. As you can see in the recordings, the wolves not only trotted but also stopped at crossings to mark their territory with their smell. As we showed in our article on the use of roads by wolves in Bory Dolnośląskie, the speed of wolves traveling on roads depends on the roads’ quality – on paved, main forest roads, it can be several times higher (on average 21.5 km/h) than on overgrown, side lanes (on average 5.4 km/h).
I would like to thank the employees of the Świebodzin and Torzym forest districts for their help in fieldwork.

Katarzyna Bojarska