Wolf sighted in wisents and wild horses nature reserve. It was captured by a camera trap.

2018 - 04 - 24
Wolf sighted in wisents and wild horses nature reserve. It was captured by a camera trap.

After big herbivores, beasts of prey have also appeared in the former military area of Milovice, not far from the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. Shots of a wolf were found by scientists while assessing records from camera traps situated in the pasture of wisents and wild horses.

The camera traps captured the wolf as it come to the pasture reserve, and also an hour and half later inside the reserve. Never before, or after, has the wolf appeared on the record of any camera trap. “It can´t be excluded thus that it only passed through and is not occurring in the area of the former military space any more. For two weeks, which have passed since the recording, he could easily travel for tens, or even hundreds of metres,” stated Miloslav Jirku of the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Ceské Budejovice.

The nearest wolf pack has been found about 40 kilometres from the reserve, which has had big hoofed animals since 2015. It was created three years ago with animals which immigrated from German Saxony. “Wolves in Saxony, similar to our country, also live in the cultural countryside of Central Europe. The myth of a shy animal which needs wild nature and huge deserted areas is really just a myth. The wolf is a curious animal and it is common; it can move also around human buildings or means of transport during the day,” says Frantisek Pelc, the Director of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic.

The camera trap captured the wolf just 30 kilometres from Prague. “The fact wolves have appeared on an island of nature inside the vast space of this intensive agricultural landscape indicates it is time to correct the routine idea that wolves need continuous forest migration corridors for longer transfers. Their migration is rather limited by housing development and busy roads, not by forest absence in the countryside,” adds Martin Salek of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

If the wolf settled down in the big hoofed animals reserve, it could be a merit for the local ecosystem. “As in other parts of the Czech Republic, the former military area also has an overpopulation of wild boars. If the wolves settled down here, they could help with their number reduction,” added Dalibor Dostal, the Director of European Wildlife organisation.

Local huntsmen are not surprised with the wolves’ arrival. “We do not feel the wolf presence to be a threat. It can help us keep game balance, can contribute to its recovery as it will dispose of sick individuals from the ecosystem,” says Karel Bendl, the mayor of the local hunting association.

The former military area in Milovice is a unique locality where wisents, wild horses and back-bred aurochs have been found since 2015. Now it has been verified that they are meeting top dog predators – a jackal and a wolf – at the only place in the Czech Republic. Golden jackal reproduction was proved in the reserve last year, for the first time ever outside the Balkans and the Danube Lowland.

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