WWF Magyarország

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Everything you wanted to know about wolves

2020-10-26

It’s more and more common to hear about the reappearance of large carnivores in Hungary. There may be questions concerning their presence, to which so far the answers have often been anecdotic, sentimental or based on beliefs. The new issue of WWF Hungary “Coexistence is possible – questions and answers about wolves”, is here to answer those questions. The informative publication is available online on the website of WWF Hungary (in Hungarian). 

Large carnivores have disappeared from a significant area of Europe due to loss of natural habitat and human persecution. However, owing to more strict conservation regulations, more accepting views, multi-actor (wildlife management, environmental protection, livestock) species conservation programmes, natural habitats with many prey and their own capability to adapt rapidly there’s once again a promising future for wolves, lynxes and bears. 

We are more and more aware of the occurrence, behaviour and ecology of large carnivores in Hungary, but the major part of this knowledge is based on subjective observations. The booklet published within the frameworks of LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project offers general knowledge on wolves, as the most widespread and most conflicting species of the three large carnivores. This is in order to answer the most common questions raised by people living in proximity of wolves. The booklet based on scientific findings compiled by German experts on wildlife management and livestock husbandry, while Hungarian wildlife biologists customized some parts to fit national needs. 

We can find short answers backed by literature and reliable observations to the most frequently raised questions (e.g. do wolves pose a danger to tourists? Are livestock safe where wolves occur? Is it true that wolves only attack the weak and sick individuals?). Besides the biology of the animals, this publication contains chapters on public safety, livestock, wildlife management, forest management and tourism.  

“In recent years we hear news more often not only about wandering individuals from Slovakia, but about permanent presence of wolves, lynxes and bears in certain areas of the North Hungarian Mountains. In order to be able to stand up to the challenges posed by this new situation, we once again have to learn how to coexist with our carnivore competitors. To achieve this, we have to have a clear insight into how these large carnivores affect their immediate surroundings. This new booklet helps understand this more”– said Dr. Miklós Heltai, wildlife biology professor of the Szent István University.

According to estimates available today there is an approximate of 17,000 wolves, 17,000 bears, 9,000 lynxes and 1250 wolverines living in Europe. Where humans and large carnivores share an area conflicts are more than likely. In Hungary large carnivores primarily inhabit the North Hungarian Mountains. Wolves are considered settled and regularly reproducing in several parts of Hungary.

“The LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project provides an opportunity for the exchange of practices that help mitigate conflicts between humans and large carnivores, as well as for the improvement of coexistence through transnational cooperation and the sharing of knowledge. It supports finding solutions to social, economic and ecologic challenges posed by wolves, bears and lynxes” – said Dr. László Patkó, programme director of WWF Hungary Large Carnivores Programme. 

For more information of the project: https://www.eurolargecarnivores.eu/hu/