Mammalian Biology

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 37–44 | Cite as

Spatial organization in wolves Canis lupus recolonizing north-west Poland: Large territories at low population density

  • Robert W. MysłajekEmail author
  • Maciej Tracz
  • Magdalena Tracz
  • Patrycja Tomczak
  • Maciej Szewczyk
  • Natalia Niedźwiecka
  • Sabina Nowak
Original investigation


Monitoring of the wolf Canis lupus is a demanding task as it lives in low densities, utilizes vast home ranges and disperses over large areas. These factors make obtaining accurate data about population parameters over the whole distribution area of the species impossible. Thus detailed local studies on socio-spatial organization are essential to calibrate information obtained over a larger area. We applied GPS/GSM telemetry, non-invasive genetic sampling, year-round tracking, camera trapping and howling stimulations to determine the number of family groups, population density and home-range sizes of wolves in the Drawa Forest (DF, western Poland, 2500 km2), an area recently recolonized by the species. Home ranges of three collared male wolves ranged from 321.8 to 420.6 km2 (MCP 100%) and from 187.5 to 277.5 km2 (Kernel 95%), but core areas had a size of 30.5–84.7 km2 (MCP50%) and 35.0–88.8 km2 (Kernel 50%). Mean near neighbour distance between centres of 6 tracked pack homesites was 15.3 km. The number of wolves in DF increased from 14 individuals in 2013/2014 to 30 in 2016/2017. The annual rate of increase varied from 43% in 2014/2015 to 7% in the final year. Population density for the whole study area was relatively low (1.2indiv./100km2 in 2016/2017), but densities within territories of two packs studied with telemetry were 1.9 and 1.5indiv./100km2. Mean pack size varied between 3.5 and 5.6 individuals, with the largest pack comprising 8 wolves. Mean number of pups observed in summers (June–August) was 4.5. Differences in home range sizes between wolves in western and eastern Poland indicate that results of regional studies cannot be freely extrapolated despite close genetic relationships. Thus, decisions related to management of wolf habitats should be based on intensive local studies.


Wolf recovery Spatial organization GPS/GSM telemetry Central European wolf population 


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© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Mysłajek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maciej Tracz
    • 2
  • Magdalena Tracz
    • 2
  • Patrycja Tomczak
    • 3
    • 4
  • Maciej Szewczyk
    • 1
  • Natalia Niedźwiecka
    • 4
  • Sabina Nowak
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of WarsawWarszawaPoland
  2. 2.Western Pomeranian Natural SocietyWegorzynoPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Romance Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages and LiteratureAdam Mickiewicz University in PoznańPoznańPoland
  4. 4.Association for Nature “WolfLipowaPoland

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