• Germany's news in English

Wolves 'dine on deer, shun sheep'

The Local · 13 Mar 2012, 07:00

Published: 13 Mar 2012 07:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“The eating habits of wolves are the biggest point of conflict linked to their resettlement in Germany," said Hermann Ansorger, who led the team of wolf-poo testers. "That led us to examine the feeding behaviour of the wolves which migrated to the Lausitz area a good decade ago.”

He and the team from the zoology department of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Görlitz, Saxony, examined more than 3,000 samples, looking for hair, fur, bones and teeth of wolf prey, he said in a statement.

Their research showed that more than 96 percent of wolves’ food was wild animals, with roe deer top of the menu, accounting for 55.3 percent.

“Less than one percent of the analysed prey animals were farm animals,” said Ansorge. “As long as sheep and co are well protected and there is enough choice among the wild animals, wolves do not take the risk of being confronted with electric fences or sheepdogs.”

Other animals popular with local wolves were red deer, which accounted for 20.8 percent, and wild boar which were 17.7 percent. Rabbits were not favoured, comprising just under three percent, according to results published in the Mammalian Biology journal.

Ansorge said it was also interesting to see how the wolves had altered their hunting habits as they migrated to Germany from Poland. He said Polish wolves largely hunted red deer, and this was continued during the first few years that the wolves were in Germany.

But the German woods are less roomy than those in Poland, and are interrupted by pathways and fields – giving rise to more roe deer and wild boar. The wolves needed less than two generations to adapt to this new landscape, and quickly changed their hunting habits to focus on roe deer and wild boar, said Ansorge.

Wolves were protected in Germany in 1990, but it took more than a decade before they settled on German soil and had pups. Now there are thought to be nine families in the Lausitz areas, including around 34 young animals.

Story continues below…

“The potential for conflict between people and wolves is very low. There is no reason for further resettlement by wolves,” said Ansorge.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:32 March 13, 2012 by zeddriver
Hey! I have an idea. Since we the people can't seem to vote out corrupt politicians. I wonder if we could train the wolves to dine on corrupt politicians. Thus saving the cute little animals and the citizens. and feeding the wolf all at the same time. Win Win
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd