Can wolves still find suitable habitats in Germany?
Yes, as the wolf is a markedly adaptable species. Wolves need sufficiently large prey populations (in central Europe mainly roe and red deer and wild boar) and undisturbed retreat areas (for the daytime, but mainly for raising offspring). Many areas in Germany fulfil these criteria and therefore seem to be suitable habitats for the wolf. The spatial distribution and the increase of the German wolf population during the last years confirm this.
However, the main dispersal direction is still from the Lusatia in eastern Germany towards north-western directions. Here, gaps in the occurrence area are filled step by step. Dispersal in western and southern directions occur significantly slower, for which the causes are unknown.
It remains to be seen in which areas with a denser human population wolves will establish permanently. At the same time, traffic accidents, illegal killing and diseases, as well as intraspecific conflicts pose a risk to wolves. Especially traffic accidents, that often affect young and migrating wolves, can slow down the dispersal of wolves within Germany.
The attitude of the public towards wolves more than the ecological conditions are relevant for the permanent establishment of wolves with few conflicts in our cultural landscape.