Serwis poświęcony przyrodzie województwa podkarpackiego



WOLF Canis Lupus


The Canis lupus is the largest European predator of the canidae family. The species requires extensive areas and an appropriate nutritional base, which mainly comprises large ungulate mammals.



Currently, wolves populate the entire Poland, and the Carpathian Mountains feature a very large and stable population. The largest compact refuge of the wolf in Poland are the Carpathian Mountains (from the Bieszczady Mountains to the Silesian Beskids) and the Carpathian Foothills. Based on annual estimates by various units of the State Forests, 53 4818 ha covered by the project is home to ca. 400 wolves.


Species Description

  • Body Mass: 30–65 kg
  • Body Length: 100–140 cm
  • Shoulder Height: 60–90 cm
  • Sexual Dimorphism: visible, males are larger than females
  • Nutrition: omnivore, predator
  • Lifestyle: family groups (packs)
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years


Biology and ecology

Wolves live in family groups (packs), consisting of a mated pair and its offspring. Their oestrous start in February, and the pups are born at the beginning of May. Females usually pup in holes, but also in fallen trees, and even in overgrown lairs on the ground. They most often give birth to 5–6 pups, but on average, only 1-3 live through to the winter. In Poland, packs range from 2 to 10 specimens, with the average being 4–5 specimens. Wolf family packs are territorial. The size of the territory in the mountains is ca. 150 km2. The territory is used irregularly: the animals usually stay in areas with the most sparse human presence, and rich in game. Wolves mark their territory with urine, excrements and characteristic claw marks in the soil. Daily, they travel ca. 23 km, however, they are capable of running more than 60 km during the day. Wolves from a single pack can hunt individually or in smaller hunting packs. They are most active in the evening (after dusk), and in the early morning. Wolves are carnivorous, and hunt mainly ungulate mammals. They prefer deer, but generally hunt all wild ungulate species found in Poland (wild boar, roe deer, moose, fallow deer, and sporadically wisent). In the condition of a forest and pasture mosaic, they often kill farm animals (sheep, cows, goats, and rarely, horses).


Protection and hazards

In the Carpathian Mountains, the wolf mainly occupies areas characterized by high forest density and a low degree of forest complexes' fragmentation. Additionally, they prefer areas of a high feeding base. Fragmentation of habitats and no possibility of migration are two of the factors that may hinder the spread of their population.


International law:

  • Berne Convention – Appendix II
  • Washington Convention (CITES) – Appendix II
  • Council Regulation (EC) 338/97 – Appendix A
  • Habitat Directive – Appendix II (priority species) and IV

National legislation:

  • Species protection – strict protection – species requiring active protection
  • A species which requires setting out a of 500 metre protection zone around the breeding den between 01.04 and 31.08

IUCN threat category:

  • IUCN Red List – LC (least concern)
  • The Red List of vanishing and endangered species in Poland (2002) – NT (near threatened)
  • Polish Red Book of animals (2001) – NT (near threatened)
  • Red List for the Carpathians (2003) – VU (vulnerable)



Wolf footprints, fot....
The victim of wolves on...
Wolf, fot. Zenon Wojtas

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