The number of wolves is growing steadily in Germany, but remains constant in Baden-Württemberg - for now. Because experts firmly believe that this will change in the southwest and that more wolves will become regular guests.
Stuttgart/Bonn (dpa/lsw) - While the wolf has been slowly spreading since its return to Germany in 1998, it seems to continue to regard Baden-Württemberg as a kind of transit country. None of the 161 packs (previous year 158) and 43 pairs (previous year 35) are known in the southwest, said the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Documentation and Advice Center on the subject of wolves (DBBW) on Monday in Bonn. Furthermore, three individual animals lived as "regulars" in the Black Forest. A wolf is considered sedentary if clear evidence can still be found after six months.
Wolves can cover very large distances during their migrations in search of a new habitat, as Felix Böcker from the Forestry Research and Testing Institute in Baden-Württemberg (FVA) explained. At first, however, they mainly settled the regions that were close to the "source region". "Individual wolves, however, can migrate much further and end up in regions where there are not that many wolves, including Baden-Württemberg, said Böcker. "As a result, development can progress faster in some regions than in others."
From the point of view of the Freiburg experts, however, it is only a matter of time before the first pairs of wolves give birth to puppies in Baden-Württemberg and further packs form. "As a result, the numbers would also develop faster in this country," said Böcker. It is a coincidence that so far only males have settled in the southwest.
While nature conservationists are happy and see a success in the fight against the extinction of animal species, the development also causes great concern for livestock owners in Baden-Württemberg. Because the wolf has no natural enemies and is a strictly protected species under nature protection in Germany. Shooting is prohibited unless the wolves, who are actually shy of humans, behave aggressively when they encounter humans. Then the Federal Nature Conservation Act allows a shooting - officially called "extraction". Such a case of unprovoked aggressive wolf behavior has not occurred since 1998, according to the report.
Most recently, the Baden-Württemberg FDP parliamentary group had insisted on the legally certain shooting of so-called problem wolves. The wolf must - albeit with a year-round closed season - finally be transferred to the hunting and wild animal law, the liberals had demanded.
According to the FVA, 13 attacks by wolves were proven in Baden-Württemberg last year, 42 animals were killed - mainly sheep and goats, but also a cow.
Until the beginning of May, four wolves were still considered settled in the south-west, but there is still no trace of an animal once found in the Odenwald, so that it is no longer considered a resident. So currently three specimens live permanently in Baden-Württemberg, their habitat is in the Enztal, on the Feldberg and on the Schluchsee. If a wolf becomes a "regular guest", a support area is designated in the region. There, special requirements apply to herd protection - it must be wolf-repellent. In return, the state in the development area reimburses almost all costs for the additional herd protection.