Update from our Germany wolf volunteer project
Thursday was our last day of field monitoring. For a final time our intrepid wolf volunteers put on their hiking boots and scanned the trails, adding more data to our already sizeable database. After the hot temperatures, the night brought lots of rain and with it much cooler temperatures.
Friday morning, we said goodbye to our third group. We thank also this great team for their effort and enthusiasm in contributing to citizen science and wolf conservation. They hiked no less than 218 km in hot weather and managed to find a total of 38 scats.
Finding scats, especially the fresh ones, remains a task that requires a lot of patience as you need to be in the right place at the right time. The wolves occupy very large territories and are rarely observed, but somehow, we all experienced their presence while doing this work.
After a 2-year Covid break, it was truly rewarding to run this 4th edition of the Biosphere Wolf Expedition in Lower Saxony again in 2022 with a total of 24 expeditioners from 7 different countries for 3 weeks. The final numbers of all groups sum up a truly impressive effort: all teams covered 837 km in nine wolf territories during which a total of 190 wolf scats were sampled. 132 samples were frozen for dietary analyses and 15 samples will be send to the lab for DNA analysis. We also recorded one wolf sighting during group 1 and recorded a 300+ meter track of an adult wolf with (probably) two pups.
During the Covid pandemic, wolf monitoring went through a data depression, so the new and sizeable set of data collected by our wolf expedition will be crucial for an up to date picture of current wolf presence in the study area. Expedition data have just been entered into the German wolf monitoring database by our expedition scientists. Biosphere Expeditions’ contribution from 2017 to today now exceeds 650 data entries, underlining the importance of citizen science for wolf monitoring and conservation.
What makes this expedition truly unique is the variety of wolf stakeholders we interacted with: inspiring wolf ambassadors, the committed Wolfsbüro team, beautiful Kenners Landlust advance expedition base, the showcase Wolfcenter, our amazing scientists and fascinating wildlife detection dog Molly. We also learnt about how humans and wolves can coexist in a densely populated and highly developed place like Germany. For this mighty predator has come back to stay and it is a credit to Germany that the country is making it work, the inevitable trials and tribulations aside. We are proud to say that our expedition plays a significant role in making this so and we thank everyone for making this year a great success. We hope to see many of you again in the future.
Last but not least, a very big thank you to our wonderful hosts at the Herrenhaus Gut Sunder. You truly made us feel at home here and after long days out in the field it was rewarding to get treated to an impressive variety of vegetarian menus. Vielen Dank Anja, Ilka, Claudia, Kirsten and all the others!