Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mapping Europe's Wolf Populations


The wolf population in Switzerland is growing. In 2010 there were only five wolves in the whole of Switzerland. Last year a total of 47 individual wolves were counted. Switzerland's wolf population is also moving more widely throughout the country. At the beginning of this decade the wolves, which entered Switzerland from Germany, were found only in the west of the country. They are now more evenly distributed across the whole country.

Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung has been mapping out the spread of wolves in Switzerland. In Wolf in Switzerland the newspaper has published an interactive map which shows where wolves have been spotted during the last year. The newspaper has also created a map which shows the movement of one of the wolves over the course of just two months. In January and February the wolf M75 walked across the whole width of Switzerland from south to north.


Switzerland's wolves entered the country from Germany. The wolves in Germany in turn originally came from Poland. Back in the year 2000 the first wolf in modern times arrived in Germany, crossing from Poland into the eastern state of Saxony. There are now reported to be over 1000 wolves in Germany. The Berliner Morgenpost has created an interactive map which animates how these wolves have repopulated the country.

If you press 'play' on the interactive map in W├Âlfe in Deutschland you can watch how wolves have spread, mostly across the north of the country, since the turn of the century. The map includes colored markers to indicate single wolves, pairs of wolves and wolf packs. The map also includes a search function which allows you to view how close the nearest wolves have been spotted to your home.

The wolf is not only on the rise in Germany. All countries in mainland Europe now have wild wolf populations. The Guardian has published a static map showing the wolf populations in different European countries. The Selected European Wild Wolf Populations map shows that the southern countries of Spain, Italy and Romania currently have the largest wolf populations in Europe.

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