Wolf monitoring

The wolf is listed under appendices II und IV of the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EWG). Accordingly, its conservation status must be observed, i.e. a sound monitoring has to be established. Main monitoring results have to be reported to the European Commission every six years (Habitats Directive Article 17). Area of occurrence and population size as well as the respective trends are amongst the relevant parameters to be reported. Within the scope of the Research and Development Scheme “Basis for management concepts for large carnivores in Germany – framework plan for wolves”, standards for wolf monitoring in Germany have been developed (Kaczensky et al. 2009) and revised in the meantime (Reinhardt et al. 2015). The standards define that data on area of occurrence and population size have to be collected on a yearly basis. Once a year, persons in charge for monitoring of wolf, lynx (and bear) from all federal states meet for data evaluation and for creating an overall picture of the situation of these animal species in Germany. As a result, yearly occurrence and territory maps of wolves and lynx are produced and the current status is summarised.

Wolfsspur im Sand der Muskauer Heide in Nordsachsen

Wolf monitoring comprises active as well as passive methods. The latter include collecting, assessing and archiving all information reported by the community, such as sightings. Authorised institutions in the federal states receive reports of wolf sightings. Such information can be valuable for determining in which areas monitoring activities need to be intensified. The major part of hints, however, is collected through active monitoring methods. In this context, the combination of searching for signs of presence, genetic analyses and using camera traps have proven to be successful.

In Germany, federal states are responsible for monitoring due to federal structures. Evaluation and analysis of data have been harmonised thorough the monitoring standards. Federal states decide how their monitoring is organised, which methods are used und in which intensity. Consequently, there are differences between federal states.