Research article / INCDS85

Return of grey wolf (Canis lupus) to Central Europe: challenges and recommendations for future management in cultural landscapes

Sven Herzog

Sven Herzog
Dresden University of Technology, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management, PiennerStrase 8 D-01737 Tharandt, Germany. Email:

Online First: December 31, 2018
Herzog, S. 2018. Return of grey wolf (Canis lupus) to Central Europe: challenges and recommendations for future management in cultural landscapes. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2018.1190

Grey wolf actually is immigrating Central Europe from eastern or southern populations, establishing packs and reproducing successfully. This development, starting in the beginning of the 2000s, led to an exponential
population increase until today. The present paper analyzes re-colonization of Central Europe by Grey wolf (Canis lupus), considering ecological, socio-economical as well as socio-cultural aspects, and develops basic points for an exemplary management concept. Until today, wolf management especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, widely follows a passive “wait and see” strategy. Thus, predations of small livestock, cattle, and horses are quickly increasing. Especially farmers and herdsmen call for a more active way of wolf management. The Central European populations of mouflon (Ovis ammon musimon), being highly endangered in its natural range, are completely disappearing with the occurrence of wolf. Hunting of wild ungulates becomes more difficult whereas forest damages by barking and browsing are not significantly reduced by the influence of wolf predation. Maintaining biodiversity by preserving open landscapes by grazing might become more and more difficult. The present paper shows the need for a more active management concept, developed from a participatory process, locally differentiated and  combining different management measures, as e.g. total protection, sustainable utilization, prevention of diseases, herd protection measures and others.

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