Can the wolf become dangerous for humans? Interview with a Senckenberg researcher.
- Reports of cracked grazing animals in Germany are increasing.
- Expert: People don't have to be afraid of wolf
- The wolf is mostly harmless
There are always reports of torn sheep and other grazing animals. But can the wolf also become dangerous for humans? This happens only in the rarest of cases, says the Senckenberg researcher Dr. Interview with Carsten Nowak.
Mr. Nowak, how dangerous is the wolf to humans?
There have been very few documented attacks on people in Europe in recent decades. Such reports appear from time to time in the media, but according to investigations they often do not turn out to be wolf attacks. However, it is of course the case that almost all large mammals can cause damage to humans in exceptional cases.
Wolf danger in Germany very low
There are also documented wolf attacks. In most cases, they have to do with rabies , which has been eradicated in Germany, or with wolves being fed. This is known from bears in national parks in the United States. That can be dangerous. Overall, the danger from wolves is very low, nobody has to be afraid to go into the forest .
But what if I actually encounter a wolf in the forest. How should i behave
That is rather unlikely. The wolf, animal filmmakers confirm, will usually go away when he sees people. But if you do come across a wolf and it approaches you, it would make sense to make yourself as big as possible, wave your arms and be loud so that the wolf gets scared . But hardly anyone will most likely ever get into this situation.
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Why is the wolf resettling in Germany?
The wolf was exterminated by humans in Germany centuries ago. These wolves used to be shot, including in the former GDR. However, animals have repeatedly migrated from Eastern Europe, where wolves have never been completely exterminated. In addition, the wolf has not been allowed to be hunted in Poland for over two decades, which has also increased the population.
Wolf must not be hunted in Germany
The real reason, however, is that wolves are no longer officially allowed to be hunted with us. In 2000 they were able to found the first pack. That would not have been possible in earlier times because they would have been shot.
There are always debates as to whether the wolf should be hunted again, for example to limit the population. What do you make of it?
It is a social decision whether she wants fewer wolves than would be leveled off through natural processes. Wolves have very large territories , which usually cover 200 to 250 square kilometers per territory. That means wolves can never be common anywhere in Germany, it just doesn't work.
Wolf in Germany: There will be no wolf-free areas
Large predators regulate themselves, at some point the population stops growing. We have been seeing this for several years in Lusatia, where the number of wolves is no longer increasing. However, if society says that we do not want wolves in certain regions, then this can only be achieved to a certain extent through intensive re-enactment, and even then wolves would always migrate into the regions in question and livestock would tear away. Herd protection must therefore be carried out either way, there will be no wolf-free areas.
It makes more sense to selectively remove the few animals with behavioral problems, such as wolves with a very short flight distance that humans cannot scare away, or animals that cause damage, for example because they have learned to overcome recommended electric fences.
What should you do if wolves are spotted near forest kindergartens?
Forest daycare centers are located in or on forests, so it is normal for wild animals to approach and not dangerous for the wolf either, because it is usually at times when there are no children, for example in the evening. There are deer and wild boars, run around in the forest and will surely pass a forest day care center.
What positive effects does wolf settlement have?
We live in an artificial ecosystem in Central Europe. In such a system, however, an important component is missing, namely that we have large predators. Some of this function is performed by humans, but only inadequately. Large predators can help regulate other wild animals, such as deer and other ungulates or even smaller predators.
A wolf apparently broke a rare red cattle. A voluntary crack assessor took genetic samples on site.
The wolf is back in the Kassel district. The circle wants to prepare for the return.
Video: The wolf is so important for the forest
By Daniel Göbel