Video: Young wolf crosses the Czech Republic to find love in Poland

The wolf had just been fitted with a GPS collar in Austria before setting off on a 14-day international trek.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 22.06.2022 13:00:00 (updated on 23.06.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A young wild wolf walked across the entire Czech Republic looking for love. The journey began in Austria and ended in Poland, where the wolf apparently has met a female wolf and, scientists believe, has started a family.

The journey took place last year, but scientists have just revealed it now so that the wolf would not be disturbed.

Last May, the Czech nature organization Šelmy.cz and scientists from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna followed the young male wolf’s international odyssey thanks to a GPS collar that the endangered canine wore.

The wolf, who was estimated to be about 2 years old, took only 14 days to cross the Moravian section of the Czech Republic, and the treacherous path included two busy highways. Cars are one of the biggest dangers to wild wolves, and another wolf had been hit not far from part of this wolf’s trek.

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He entered the country from Austria’s Allentsteig military training area. This is the second wolf to enter Czechia from Allentsteig. The first was at the end of 2019. At the beginning of May 2021, nature conservationists at Šelmy received an email from their Austrian colleagues.

“We have good news for you and bad news for us. Another wolf is heading your way. This time it’s a male who got a telemetry collar only two weeks ago,” the Austrian counterparts said.

Initially, he headed toward Trebic and Náměšt' nad Oslavou and lingered for several days near the local military airport. Military bases have restricted human access, which makes them attractive destinations for wildlife.

After a few days the wolf headed north and crossed the D1 highway between Velký Meziříčí and Velká Bíteš. He then headed to Drahanská vrchovina, and then crossed the D35 motorway between Litovel and Olomouc, probably between Loštice and Mladeč.

GPS data picked up his location again at the northern end of the Litovelské Pomoraví Protected Landscape Area, from where the wolf headed toward Úsov and Nízký Jeseník. He then went around Hrubý Jeseník, through Bruntál, around Krnov, and into Poland. A map of his trek across Moravia can be seen here.

The wolf headed northeast in Poland. After wandering 250 kilometers in 19 days, the young male arrived in the middle of last May in the large forest around the town of Lubliniec, some 90 km from the Czech border.

Wolf couple in Poland. Photo: Stowarzyszenie dla Natury Wilk, YouTube.
Wolf couple in Poland. Photo: Stowarzyszenie dla Natury Wilk, YouTube.

The Polish organization Stowarzyszenie dla Natury Wilk has been following the wolf since he left Czechia. Since shortly after his arrival, the wolf has been regularly photographed in the company of a female. Both wolves have been intensively marking their territory, which means it is likely that they have started a family. The cubs, though, have not been spotted yet.

“His journey confirms the ability of wolves to disperse over long distances in a short period of time. It also demonstrates the importance of international cooperation on large carnivore research and conservation. Thanks to the information from the GPS collar, we have obtained irreplaceable data on the use of migration routes in our landscape,” Šelmy.cz stated.

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