Update from our Germany wolf volunteer project
Thursday was the last day of wolf monitoring for group 2. While the sun has been our faithful companion through all surveys thus far, it was our first day in the rain and mud. It was a refreshing last hike and the motivation of all teams was high to bring back more wolf sign from the territories of Walle, Wietze and Ebstorf.
In Walle we came back empty-handed, in Wietze more fresh scats were found in the same area as several days ago and in Ebstorf also multiple scats were documented and collected. Each survey counts regardless of its outcome for in science the zeros are as important as the ones. Every kilometre walked by our wolf citizen scientists is valuable and would not have been covered if it was not for this dedicated annual wolf conservation expedition. Wolf evidence or the lack thereof gives relevant up-to-date real-time information on wolf presence or absence. With highly mobile predators that have home ranges up to 100-200 square kilometres per pack, it is only normal that it takes several monitoring days and multiple 10 by 10 km grids surveyed in the same territory before we can narrow down the core area of a wolf pack, which can of course also shift over time.
On Friday morning our expedition scientist Peter summed up the results of this intense but rewarding week: A total of 327 km were surveyed, covering 13 grids in nine wolf territories. Our wolf volunteers’ efforts resulted in a total of 69 scats, of which 52 were kept for further validation and dietary analyses. Out of these 52, seven fresh samples are being considered for DNA analysis, of which some might be from wolf pups. These are only preliminary results as the findings will be validated by other experts first too.
Many thanks to all for your efforts, enthusiasm and good sense of humour during this week of true team work. We also had one special sighting during this group: Sylvia’s surprise appearance in her wolf Halloween outfit that put smiles on everyone’s faces. It was nice to hear that several of our citizen scientists are keen to walk paths near their homes to see if they can find wolf evidence there as well. Keep up the good work!
Our expedition now takes a one week break to start afresh Saturday week when we welcome our third and final Biosphere Germany team of 2022.