Update from our Germany wolf volunteer project
On Monday the teams set out for a full day of wolf monitoring. You are never sure what the day will bring. One team walked 17 km in beautiful surroundings, but found nothing wolf-related. Others collected a few old signs. The lucky ones came across fresh signs of wolves.
It was Lotte and Carl’s turn to get lucky in the Wietze territory: they found a 346 m long track of clear footprints of an adult wolf accompanied by at least two pups. They also collected what appeared to be a fresh pup scat nearby, thus definitely new for the DNA database.
On Tuesday half of the team left for an overnight trip up into the northern part of Lower Saxony to monitor the Amt Neuhaus and Göhrde wolf territories. Closer to the expedition base, the other half of our wolf volunteer team covered over 35 km in the Ebstorf wolf territory.
With the special sighting of previous week in this area in mind, hopes were high and there was a lot of scanning crossroads and landscapes with binoculars, hoping to get a glimpse of our target species off in the distance, but sadly no wolf appearance this time. Nevertheless, our efforts were rewarded with a total of 19 wolf scats.
On Wednesday morning Timo presented the livestock protection project and we visited the wolf-proof fence of a cattle farmer nearby. Some argue these fences keep all wildlife out and not just wolf and wild boar. Camera traps were put in place during the project and show these fences have no impact on local wildlife other than wolves. During our expedition further data on this are being collected. While on site, we saw a pine martin come out of the forest into the pasture. Going through the images of the eight camera traps, we found evidence of a fox returning to the site on three consecutive days, several hare grazing during the day and night and even a mighty white-tailed eagle relaxing on one of the fence poles.
It was nice to be reunited on Thursday evening with our other friends and hear about their overnight wolf expedition in the north. In Amt Neuhaus the team had a close roe deer encounter and their perseverance in scanning trails was tested by an abundance of mosquitoes and horseflies. The trio Aniek, Martin & Pat now hold the record for the highest number of wolf signs found in one single day in the Lucie territory with no fewer than 19 scats. Very impressive work and good spotting skills. The team’s hard work was rewarded with some local ice cream.