The return of wolves to Germany

The sighting of a wolf in the wild in the Lusatia area in 1996 was a true sensation. There have been sightings of migrating wolves in the GDR and some were even shot due to the missing conservation status at that time, but practically the wolf was considered eradicated in Germany since the mid-19th century after centuries of persecution. Germany’s recolonization by wolves has become increasingly dynamic since the beginning of the 21st century and after the detection of the first reproducing wolf pack in the Lusatia area in 2000. This is a positive development against the background of general biodiversity loss on the global and national level.

The number of wolf territories and, along with that, the area inhabited by wolves in Germany, has been increasing continuously since 2006. In the 2018/19 monitoring year, the focus of distribution is still on the federal states Brandenburg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Additionally, wolves have managed to establish some territories in the west and south of the country. Dispersing wolves often cover large distances and can show up in areas where human settlements are denser. The positive development of the population, however, is also reflected in an increasing number of wolves killed in traffic accidents. The return of wolves shows impressively that the framework conditions for this and other species like the lynx and bear have developed in a positive way and that the conservation efforts, especially the strict protection, indeed show signs of success.

Source: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, und Reaktorsicherheit (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety).