Last week the Kuterevo volunteers tried to learn more about wolfs, their biology and their functions in the wild. Marco and Alice prepared a presentation about wolfs in Spain and France. To discover more about wolfs we also watched a documentary about a Croatian man who took care of a wolf cub, and another one which was about relationships between wolf packs and other animals in Yellow Stone National Park in the United States.
We learned some interesting facts about wolfs and we want to share 5 of them with you:
- Wolfs are social animals, they live and hunt in packs and have strong bondings. Usually there are 6 to 10 of them in a pack and all the members of the pack provide food for the mother and the cubs. If there are too many wolfs in one pack, some of the younger wolfs (1-2 years old) can disperse: they look for a mate (partner) and start a new pack or join another pack.
- The wolf is a key species. They control populations of other animals and always hunt the weakest ones. Also, they are scavengers, so they keep natural areas clean and prevent diseases from spreading.
- There are different subspecies with different color patterns: the Yukon wolf (black and grey) in Alaska and Canada, theEuropean wolf (brown-grey), the Arabian wolf (light blonde), and the Arctic wolf (white).
- Wolfs have conflicts with farmers and livestock but they only affect around 1 % of the livestock in regions where they are present.
- They live in very different habitats, not only in the forest. They can eat many kinds of animals, but their diet mainly consists of ungulates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ungulate).
The educational part of the week was often interrupted by animals which we needed to take care of. We didn’t succeed to see a wolf, but we saw deers near the forest, the big bears woke up from their winter sleep, and also during “the wolf week” a fox came to visit our chickens (to control the population), but unfortunately for the fox our dogs were in the mood to control the fox population in the village…
Nowadays wolves are rare in the forests near Kuterevo. People who work in the woods say that about ten years ago there were much more wolf packs than now.
We now informed ourselfs about two out of three of Croatia’s biggest carnivores: bears and wolfs. The third biggest carnivore is the Lynx, and we will learn more about this animal this week, as it is the ‘Topic of the Week’.