The number of wolf packs in Germany has increased slightly. As the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Federal Documentation and Advice Center on the subject of wolves announced on Monday in Bonn, 161 wolf packs were registered in Germany in the so-called monitoring year 2021/2022. That was three packs more than in the previous reporting period.
As in previous years, the occurrence of wolves is concentrated in the areas of Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Lower Saxony. Other wolf territories have been identified in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.
Most wolf packs lived in Brandenburg (47) in 2021/2022, followed by Lower Saxony (34) and Saxony (31). In Hesse, three puppies were officially documented for the first time.
In addition to the 161 packs, 43 pairs of wolves and 21 sedentary wolves were also confirmed. In the period 2020/21 there were still 35 pairs and 22 lone wolves. For the long-term preservation of the wolf in Germany, according to the information, the adult and reproductive individuals are particularly important. Therefore, the federal states are concentrating on surveying the number of wolf packs as part of their wolf monitoring.
"This is natural growth and a slightly lower increase than in previous years," said the head of the Department of Zoological Species Protection at the BfN, Sandra Balzer. The figures are based on surveys by the federal states with scientifically proven evidence, for example through gene traces and camera trap images.
A total of 1175 individual wolves were recorded in the reporting period, the monitoring year extends from May 1st to April 30th of the following year. The number of dead wolves found was 148 animals: 102 of them had died in traffic accidents, 13 wolves were killed illegally.
Because the return of the wolf is controversial. Attacks on farm animals, especially sheep and goats, repeatedly cause public discussions about the wolf, which is strictly protected against shooting. In 2021, a total of 975 wolf attacks were reported with 3374 livestock injured, missing or killed. In the previous year there were 942 attacks. For livestock keepers in Germany, however, there are state subsidies for herd protection in almost all federal states with established wolf populations. About 1.20 meter high electric fences and - depending on the individual case - also herding dogs are recommended. A good 16.6 million euros were spent on this nationwide in 2021, according to the report. In addition, authorities paid almost half a million euros in damages to owners of livestock in 2021.
The Federal Office advises that comprehensive herd protection should take place as preventively as possible before wolves get used to killing sheep and goats or even smaller cattle and foals as supposedly “easy prey”. General hunting of wolves, on the other hand, is not a suitable measure against damage to livestock from the point of view of the experts.
Wolves are a strictly protected species under nature protection in Germany. Shooting is prohibited unless the wolves, who are actually shy of humans, behave aggressively when they encounter humans. Then the Federal Nature Conservation Act allows a shooting - officially called "extraction". Such a case of unprovoked aggressive wolf behavior has not occurred since 1998, according to the report.