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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Grey wolf

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Canis lupus




Foto: Jan Ole Kriegs
The wolf is the wild form of the domestic dog. Wolf-like coloured dogs can closely resemble Wolves. The wolf has a brought head with a long muzzle, relatively small erect ears, yellow eyes with a light patch above the eyes, a light-coloured face on cheeks and muzzle, a dark saddle patch on the shoulder, a straight back line and at rest a tail hanging vertically down, often with a black tip.
Wolves are extremely adaptable and quick-learning carnivores that can also live near villages and cities, but they behave extremely wary towards humans. On the menu of the wolf are mostly larger animals like wild boar, deer and elk, but thanks to its sensitive nose also mice and carrion. Wolves live in family groups consisting of the parents, the cubs and the yearlings. Upon onset of sexual maturity the young wolves leave the pack and migrate away. A pack defends its territory of 200 — 3000 square kilometres against other wolves.

While in some countries where the wolf occurs, remnant populations have survived; the wolf was completely eradicated in Central Europe because it was blamed for attacks on domestic and game animals. In consequence the wolf has already been eradicated as a game species in large parts of Germany by the beginning of the 19th century.
Already in the second half of the 19th century, in the area of the modern NRW wolves were only able to persist as migrants (last takes in North Rhine-Westphalia: 1835 in the Münsterland, 1839 in the Rothaar Mountains, 1874 in the Eifel).
Since about the year 2000 wolves have once again been reproducing in Germany. Starting in Eastern Saxony the species is once again spreading and meanwhile even in Lower Saxony there are packs of wolves. A male wolf originating from Saxony was staying in the North of Hesse from 2006 to 2011 and in 2009; this animal was briefly in Höxter County and thus in NRW. At the end of 2014 the tracks of a Wolf were discovered in the Oppenweher Bog on the border to Lower Saxony. In both cases secured samples supplied the genetic confirmation of the species diagnosis. In 2015 a wolf was recorded with a camera trap at a Roe Deer cadaver near Siegen.
It is to be expected that in the future wolves will appear more frequently in NRW. Observations that probably refer to wolves should be carefully documented and ideally photographed, even if just with a mobile phone. Wolves that are recorded as victims of street traffic will be carefully examined by the relevant agencies. Electric fences and dogs help to prevent attacks of wolves on domestic animals like sheep and goats.


Ingrid Hucht-Ciorga und Henning Vierhaus


Hucht-Ciorga I, Vierhaus H (2023): Wolf (Canis lupus).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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