Can sheepdogs beat wolves
FAQ - Wolves in Germany
Why was the wolf nearly wiped out?
For many years the wolf was considered an enemy of humans and was intensely persecuted: The society of earlier centuries was characterized by a small-scale population without social security systems. The hard work of all family members served for self-sufficiency and thus the survival of a family depended on its own livestock. Sheep, pigs and goats were herded into the woods and pastures and were easy prey for wolves without functioning herd protection (live fences did not yet exist). The loss of every single animal was a life-threatening cut for the family and thus the wolf was perceived as a great threat.
The feudal rulers also saw the wolf as a hunting competitor who abused game regardless of royal or lordly hunting rights. Wolves were hunted intensively to calm the population and to eliminate hunting competitors. Social recognition for their heroism was given to those who successfully fought the wolf as a "cultural enemy". Probably the last German wolf for the time being was hunted down near Hoyerswerda (Upper Lusatia, Saxony) in 1904. With the exception of individual animals immigrating from Poland, which were shot promptly, Germany was free of wolves until the return of the wolf in 2000, i.e. almost 100 years.
Why do wolves come back?
Wolves have been under strict protection in Germany and Europe for many years and are no longer allowed to be shot. Our landscape is suitable for wolves and the populations of prey such as roe deer, red deer and wild boar are high in many places. Since wolves are very fond of wandering, they can cover long distances and return to parts of their original range in Germany from wolf populations in neighboring countries where wolves have never been exterminated.
What legal protection status does the wolf enjoy?
The wolf is strictly protected by international and national laws. In the European Union it is subject to Annexes II, IV and V of the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive. At the federal level, the wolf is strictly protected by the Federal Nature Conservation Act. It thus has the highest possible protection status.
Why are wolves under protection?
The wolf population in Europe is divided into different populations. The wolves in Germany and western Poland belong to the Central European lowland population, whose population is currently considered endangered. With an estimated 140 adult, reproducing individuals, a safe population size has not yet been reached in Germany in 2017 either. Without protective measures, the wolf could therefore become extinct again in Germany.
What is stopping the wolf from spreading?
The wolf can live anywhere where it can find enough prey and where there are areas of refuge for rearing the pups. Ultimately, the dense settlement and the fragmentation of the landscape by the road and rail network reduce its potential distribution area. Illegal killings and road traffic are the most common unnatural causes of death among wolves in Germany.
Which measures can be useful against traffic accidents with wolves?
Careful driving and moderate speeds basically serve to reduce the risk of traffic accidents of all kinds - including wild animals. Fences and crossing aids such as green bridges can prevent animals (whether wolf, deer or wild boar) from even approaching the road. In addition, wildlife warning systems and signs can increase the driver's awareness of wild animals. It is known from Scandinavia that a green strip between the edge of the road and the forest also increases the likelihood that drivers will recognize animals at an early stage.
Where should measures against traffic accidents involving wolves be applied?
Wolves use very large territories and can often cross roads on their daily 40-kilometer hikes. Since the area of a wolf family is around 250 square kilometers, many measures cannot be implemented across the board. Fencing all roads in the wolf area would also have ecological effects, as it would cut up habitats for many other animal species. Therefore, it makes sense to only use measures where accidents involving wildlife have repeatedly occurred.
Between the Saxon towns of Weißwasser and Boxberg, for example, signs were put up on an eight-kilometer stretch of road on which many wolves and other wild animals have perished, an existing bridge was designed to be natural and the roadside was kept free of wood - with success!
Do wolf populations need to be regulated by human hunting?
No. As a top predator, the wolf has no natural enemies in the form of other, larger animals, but the availability of food and suitable unoccupied areas determine the size of the wolf population. This results in a natural interplay of reproduction, immigration and emigration and mortality, which is also influenced by diseases. These ecological mechanisms regulate the wolf population naturally. From a biological point of view, regulation by humans is not necessary.
What is the difference between hunting and harvesting wolves?
When hunting, a certain number of animals are shot regularly, usually annually. For this purpose, a regular hunting season and, if necessary, a shooting quota are set for the species. There must be a reason for killing an animal, such as the use of the meat. Hunting in Germany is basically regulated by the hunting laws of the federal states. Hunting for wolves is currently prohibited by law in Germany, for example due to the EU's Habitats Directive.
The removal, on the other hand, is the killing of a certain wolf for special reasons such as illness, security or high economic damage. The removal of a wolf is regulated by the Federal Nature Conservation Act (§ 45) and is also part of the state's wolf management. (See also question 65: "What does removal mean and when can a wolf be killed?")
Why is the wolf subject to hunting law in Saxony?
The wolf is not listed as a huntable animal species in the Federal Hunting Act. The federal states can, however, place other animals under the state hunting legislation. In 2012, Saxony decided to place the wolf under hunting law, as the state government at the time hoped that this would gain greater acceptance among hunters. Since the wolf is under special protection nationwide, it is covered by a so-called closed season all year round, so it is still not allowed to be hunted.
How does NABU assess the inclusion of the wolf in Saxon hunting law?
NABU rates wolf management in Saxony as positive and practical. However, NABU strictly rejects the inclusion of the wolf in hunting law, as the conservation status of the species does not allow the species to be used in the foreseeable future that would justify classification in hunting law. However, NABU doubts that inclusion in hunting law will increase acceptance among the hunters.
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