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Conservation of wolves in Slovakia

Krivan - the national symbol of Slovakia - Composite Photo R. Morley/V.Bologov

Why is the work needed?

The wolf occurs in around 40% of Slovakia, with highest concentrations in the mountainous northern, central and eastern regions. There are thought to be around 200-400 wolves in the country; estimates in the past have put the population at around 1,200-1,800 but were based on statistics provided by hunting associations, and there has been no formal scientific monitoring. Wolves can be hunted between 1st November and 15th January, with a quota set by the Ministry of Agriculture. This has varied between 120-160 wolves permitted to be killed in a season. The long-term effects of hunting have not been studied and as around 20 of Slovakia’s 50 or so wolf packs have territories straddling the border with Poland, this means that wolves fully protected in Poland can be killed if they cross the border into Slovakia.  Other threats include habitat fragmentation due to an increase in road building and development, conflict with livestock owners and competition with hunters for ungulate prey such as red and roe deer and wild boar.

Wolves and Humans has worked with the Slovak Wildlife Society and local communities in Slovakia since 1999 to carry out research on wolf ecology and numbers, address and prevent conflicts between wolves and people, improve public knowledge and acceptance and reduce the motivation for these predators to be killed.

Wolf and lynx census project

In order to improve the quality of information available for wolf conservation management and regulation of hunting, the Slovak Wildlife Society is carrying out a census of the wolf population in Slovakia using scientific monitoring methods. The aim is to map pack distribution and size in the Tatra mountains and extrapolate this to produce an estimate of the total number of wolves in the country which will be national in scope but verifiable locally. The results will be compared to existing estimates based on official hunting statistics, which are likely to be overestimated. Read Progress Report 2007. Read Progress Report 2008.

In 2010 the White Wilderness/Carpathian Wolf Watch expedition was developed to enable volunteers to participate in gathering data for the census, now expanded to include lynx, through snow tracking and collection of genetic samples in the Tatra Mountains - click here for more information.

White Dog Fund

In 2009 we launched the White Dog Fund - a new initiative providing people in rural areas who bear the real cost of co-existing with wolves, brown bears and lynx with prompt and practical assistance to resolve conflicts; a positive alternative to killing predators - helping rural communities in Slovakia to live successfully and responsibly with large carnivores.  The Fund aims to shift the financial burden of large carnivore presence away from individual livestock and property owners and towards the thousands of people who want to help ensure the continued existence of these evocative and charismatic predators in the wild forests and mountains of Slovakia and Europe. Read more and make a donation to the fund.

Wolf rescue

In 2006 Wolves and Humans helped rescue two wolves kept in a small cage in a village in eastern Slovakia after their mother was killed, probably by poachers. The wolves were taken to a wolf sanctuary in Greece, run by the environmental organisation ARCTUROS. Read more...

How you can help
•   Make a donation to the White Dog Fund - click here
•   Make a donation to the Wolf Census Project - click here
  Participate in the White Wilderness/Carpathian Wolf Watch expeditions - click here
•   Put together a group and go wolf and bear watching - click here for more details

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