Česká verze

A wolf's journey from Austria to the Doupov Mountains

22.9.2020, Selmy.cz

A two-year-old female wolf wearing a telemetric collar is now inhabiting the Doupov Mountains. The animal was captured and equipped with the monitoring device in June last year in the Austrian military area of Allensteig, about 40 km south of the Czech border. The monitoring is conducted by experts from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. In the same area, the breeding of wolves was confirmed for the first time in Austria four years ago.

In November and December last year, the wolf started to make short (10-20 kilometres) trips across the border of its home territory to the north and northeast. The young female finally left the pack before Christmas but headed northwest to the Třeboň Basin. It quickly continued west through the Pošumaví, the Boletice military training area, and the Šumava National Park to the region of Železná Ruda. At the turn of the year, the wolf set off in the direction of the Klatovy region, slipping between the towns of Pilsen and Starý Plzenec, before managing to cross the D5 motorway near Rokycany. It rested in the Křivoklát region for a few days and continued almost to the Elbe river, before turning west at Slaný and journeying through the Žatec region to the Doupov Mountains where it established new territory in the Hradiště military training area during the weeks following 11 January 2020.

The route of a young female wolf from Austria to the Doupov MountainsThe route of a young female wolf from Austria to the Doupov Mountains


The wolves are known on occasions to spread over long distances. For example, the German wolf named Alan travelled from Saxony to Belarus in six months, covering a distance of more than 1,500 kilometres. The Slovenian wolf named Slavic covered at least 1,176 kilometres in 98 days before settling in the Italian Alps, where it established a pack with an alpine female. The record holder so far is a female wolf from southwestern Norway who covered more than 10,000 kilometres in less than two years before getting shot in north-eastern Finland.

Especially for expanding populations with reduced genetic variability, moving over long distances is a way to avoid the risk of inbreeding. Such ability to disperse is one of the important qualities that made the wolf a successful and widespread species throughout Eurasia and North America.

The Austrian wolf is one of the well-documented cases of long-distance dispersal of wolves in Central Europe. Another recorded case is an animal descending from the Šumava wolf pack that got killed by a vehicle on the road near Hamburg.

On average, the Austrian wolf moved at a speed of 23,1 kilometres per day (including rests). The longest distance covered in one day was 62 kilometres in the Pošumaví between 26 and 27 December. The curious move between two military training areas, 240 kilometres as the crow flies, illustrates well the preference of wolves in Central Europe for sparsely populated areas where they find enough peace for raising their young ones.

In the Doupov Mountains, several sightings of a wolf without a radio collar were also made, and the telemetric data suggest that the Austrian female is not alone in her new territory. If samples of faeces can be obtained from the area, the genetic analysis would reveal the origin of her partner.



with the contribution of Aleš Vorel



Friends of the Earth are able to carry out projects on protection and monitoring of large carnivores thanks to generous support of individual donors – Friends of Large Carnivores. Please join us here.

Copyright © Hnuti DUHA Olomouc

created by Michal Kandr