• Polski
  • Czeski
  • Słowacki
  • Angielski
Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot

Protection of large carnivores

Habitat reguirements

Due to intensive hunting and urbanization, which caused habitat fragmentation and decrease in availability of forest habitats, the wolf range in Europe suffered a dramatic decline over the last few centuries. The gray wolf mainly inhabits the areas characterized by high forest coverage (over 40%) – the areas of dense forests of low fragmentation degree. Wolves live in various types of forests: from deciduous to coniferous monocultures.

The studies carried out in the Białowieża National Park did not show any preference towards concrete forest type (Jędrzejewska and Jędrzejewski 1998). In north-eastern Poland wolves often inhabited vast pine monocultures (Jędrzejewski et al. 2004). The data gathered in Poland indicate that the gray wolf is a fairly plastic species able to inhabit areas of various environmental conditions. The majority of wolf records comes from areas of high forest coverage reaching 50-80%. This preferences are most clearly visible in southern Poland (Jędrzejewski et al. 2005). In north-western Poland, however, wolves successfully inhabit areas of 11% forest coverage (Jędrzejewski et al. 2004). In north-eastern Poland wolves occur in vast wetlands that offer numerous refuges and are also difficult to access (Jędrzejewski et al. 2004). Proper food base availability is a significant factor determining wolf settlement in a certain area. It is estimated that to sustain a healthy, stable wolf population ungulates’ density in the area should reach 50kg biomass/1 km. Wolves deliberately avoid highly populated areas, those situated near large cities and agglomerations, as well as those with dense network of roads (over 0,2 km of national and voivodship roads / 1 km2).